FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jeff Marvin, Media Relations
jmarvin@pih.org

BUTARO, Rwanda, (August 21, 2013)—Approximately 150 guests from Rwanda and beyond convened in Butaro, Rwanda for the inauguration ceremony of the Butaro Ambulatory Cancer Center (BACC).

The event was hosted by Burera District, the Rwandan Ministry of Health (MOH), the Rwandan Biomedical Center (RBC), and Partners In Health/Inshuti Mu Buzima (PIH/IMB), in partnership with the Cummings Foundation, Dana Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School.

Immense progress has been made at the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence, but a great need for accessible care persists; the Butaro Ambulatory Cancer Center (BACC) is an extension of the efforts to advance cancer care in Rwanda. By providing outpatient chemotherapy infusion services, the new facility will significantly increase cancer treatment capacity at Butaro Hospital. Services available at the BACC include clinical consultation, education sessions, and multidisciplinary counseling for patients and their families. The new facility has been designed to maximize patient comfort and optimize infection control, and includes a state-of-the-art chemotherapy mixing room.

Since its inauguration on July 18, 2012, the Butaro Cancer Center has registered more than 1,000 patients from every district in Rwanda and several other East African nations. Clinicians have worked to treat myriad cancers, including breast cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and Kaposi’s sarcoma. Among the early successes are the development of endorsed national protocols for cancer care; the expansion of Butaro’s pathology lab to a national referral facility; and the implementation of an electronic medical record system to support clinical care, programmatic monitoring, and national registry inputs.

Most importantly, the Center has achieved what it was primarily intended to do—deliver high-quality cancer care that was previously inaccessible to those most in need.

The inauguration was officiated by the Honorable Minister of Health of Rwanda, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho. Guests included Partners In Health Co-founders, Dr. Paul Farmer and Ophelia Dahl; Bill and Joyce Cummings of the Cummings Foundation; the Governor of the Northern Province, Mr. Aime Bosenibamwe; and the Mayor of Burera District, Mr. Samuel Sembagare. The inauguration included a ribbon cutting ceremony, facility tours, and speeches from leadership and patients.

The BACC is not only an important stride toward greater access to cancer care in Rwanda, but, as Dr. Paul Farmer said at the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence inauguration, this also “is about health equity.”

Read more about the Butaro Ambulatory Cancer Center inauguration here.

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