First National Cancer Referral Center in Rural East Africa Opens in Rwanda on July 18, 2012

President Bill Clinton, The Government of Rwanda, NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, Partners In Health’s Paul Farmer, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Larry Shulman to Inaugurate the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence

JULY 17, 2012

Media Contacts: Kria Sakakeeny, 617-998-6541 (

BOSTON and BUTARO, Rwanda – On July 18, 2012, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Rwanda, Partners In Health, the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation and the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center will inaugurate the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence, which will serve as the first national cancer referral facility in rural Rwanda. President Clinton, who helped bring together this partnership through his Clinton Global Initiative, will inaugurate the Center, on the same site at which he laid the cornerstone for Butaro Hospital in 2008.

The Center, located within Butaro Hospital in northern rural Rwanda, is a critical element of Rwanda’s ambitious five-year plan to introduce cancer prevention, screening and treatment on a national level.  The facility’s opening will mark a major milestone as the first center of its kind to bring comprehensive cancer care to rural East Africa. 

“Just a few years ago we had no system or financing mechanism to diagnose and treat AIDS in Africa. People said it was too expensive or too complicated. But today nearly 7 million people in developing countries are receiving treatment for HIV. We can do the same with cancer,” said Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners In Health and chair of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine.

Rwanda has a population of nearly 11 million people -- and not a single Rwandan oncologist. Childhood cancers like acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which has an 80 percent cure rate in the United States, are a virtual death sentence for children in Rwanda. The Cancer Center of Excellence aims to address both existing resource limitations and the growing global cancer burden. The World Health Organization expects 16 million new cancer cases worldwide by 2020, with 70 percent in developing countries like Rwanda. The Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence will provide a full spectrum of cancer care including screening, diagnosis, chemotherapy, surgery, patient follow-up, and palliative care. It will also serve as the first facility to implement standardized cancer training and protocols that align with Rwanda’s new national guidelines.


President William J. Clinton, Founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States of America

Honorable Minister Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda Minister of Health

Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR champion, founder of Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation

Dr. Larry Shulman, Chief Medical Officer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dr. Paul Farmer, PIH co-founder, Chair of Harvard Medical School's Department of Global Health and Social Medicine

WHAT: Opening ceremony of Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence at Butaro Hospital in Rwanda’s Northern Province, Burera District.

WHEN: WEDNESDAY, July 18, 2012

RSVP:  To arrange interviews, secure photographs or to attend the event, please contact Kria Sakakeeny at, 617-998-6541

About Partners In Health: PIH is a global health organization relentlessly committed to improving the health of the poor and marginalized. We build local capacity and work closely with impoverished communities to deliver high quality health care, address the root causes of illness, train providers, advance research and advocate for global policy change. Ninety-four percent of the funds we raise go to our programs in the ten countries where we work, including Haiti, Rwanda, Russia, Peru and the United States. For more information please visit

About the Clinton Global Initiative: Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,100 commitments, which are improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.

CGI’s Annual Meeting is held each September in New York City. CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at

About the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation: The Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation was established as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in 1999 by the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion. The
Foundation supports children battling cancer by funding programs that improve patients’ quality of life, treatment programs that increase survivorship, and pediatric medical research dedicated to finding a cure.

The Foundation also supports the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital in Concord, NC, which serves children in the community by providing a high level of primary and specialty pediatric care. We are proud to support a quality health care facility dedicated to compassionate care and medical excellence for children.

About the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center: the Center is the integration of one of the world’s leading cancer institutes with one of the world’s leading hospitals, creating one Center and one clinical team with a unique combination of resources to fight and defeat cancer. Through our 12 specialized treatment centers, we offer the most advanced treatment with the compassion and care that makes all the difference.

Please send donations to: Partners In Health, PO Box 996, Frederick, MD 21705-9942