Secure the Future – Tanzania – Lake Zone Region

Lead by the Bristol-Myers Squib Foundation, the SECURE THE FUTURE® initiative works with their partners in Africa to provide care and support for communities affected by HIV. 

The United Republic of Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa, covering 940,000 square kilometers, 60,000 of which is inland water. Tanzania has a population of about 50 Million with the mainland divided into 26 regions and the island of Zanzibar into 5 regions. The Lake Zone in Tanzania is made up of Regions surrounding Lake Victoria; these are Geita, Simiyu, Shinyanga, Kagera, Mara and Mwanza. Mwanza is the main city and people in the zone rely on Mwanza for their main social and economic activities, including referral health services.

Bugando is one of the 4 tertiary referral hospitals in Tanzania serving a population of 16 million people, about a third of the population of Tanzania and importantly the region contributes 2/3 of all cancers seen in the country. Bugando Medical Centre is annexed to the Medical School-Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences. The Cancer institute forms part of Bugando Complex.

As in many Sub –Saharan African countries, cancer stands as the 3rdcause of mortality after infectious disease and other non –communicable diseases. It actually accounts for 10% of all mortality. The majority of cases seen at cancer facilities (60%) do arrive in stage 3 or 4 of their diseases, where the only means of treatment that can be offered is counseling and palliative care. Reasons for late presentations are usually similar, including treatment competition with traditional vs. modern medicine, lack of awareness, costs associated with referrals, diagnostic difficulties, lack of multidrug therapy and treatment protocols, and lack of active follow-up for proper survival rate documentation.

All of these factors have contributed to the lack of reliable estimation for a true lung cancer burden in the Great lakes Region. 

This initiative is part of a Multinational Lung Cancer Control Program (MLCCP) which aims to improve understanding of  lung cancer pathways and access to early diagnostic services for lung cancer by addressing the barriers of cancer care through working with communities and the Ministries of Health in the identified regions with a potential for scale-up. The multinational study covers specific regions in Kenya, Tanzania, Swaziland and South Africa. 

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