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News & Announcements

Working to stop Childhood Cancer in Tanzania

July 3, 2020

IMA World Health

Every year 100,000 children in Africa develop cancer, and 90% of these children do not survive. In contrast, children in more developedcountries diagnosed with cancer have survival rates of 80% or greater. This enormous disparityin outcomes can be explained by several factors, including lack of awareness of childhood cancer which is often discovered late, the scarcity of anti-cancer medicines and generally inadequate health- care infrastructure.

IMA World Health has been implementing pediatric cancer programs in Tanzania since 2001. It began with the Burkitt’s Lymphoma (BL) Treatment Program. BL is an aggressive childhood cancer that most often affects young children. With prompt and proper treatment, BL can be cured almost as quickly as it sets in.

IMA has collaborated for several years with their partners Muhimbili National Hospital (which manages the only dedicated pediatric cancer ward in Tanzania), and Tumaini La Maisha (a Tanzanian based NGO) to diagnose and treat pediatric cancers with little to no cost to families.

In 2018, a CPC Envision Fund grant provided the pediatric cancer ward at Muhimbili National Hospital with a new state of the art bio-safety cabinet which has increased the safety and accuracy of mixing the correct dosage of chemotherapy medication needed for each patient. Supplying chemotherapy medicines to treat pediatric cancer patients is critical to the successful treatment and recovery of these patients. Due to the recent disruptions in the supply chain worldwide as a re- sult of the COVID-19 pandemic, extra support for ensuring and maintaining an adequate supply of chemotherapy medicines as well as other essential medicines is an urgent need. This April, the CPC Mission Committee approved $2,500 to ensure that children in Tanzania continue their treatment with IMA’s purchase of medicines and supplies.

You can go to Youtube to hear first hand from Dr. Trish, a pediatric oncologist at Muhimbili National Hospital about her efforts at the end of March to get the supplies they needed to brace for the impact of COVID-19. You will also get a virtual tour of the hospital!

Childhood cancers are a devastating illness, but there is hope. IMA was founded on the Christian principle that all people are children of God and thus deserve to lead healthy and productive lives. CPC and IMA believe that this effort to combat pediatric cancer and save even more children is critical to answering God’s call.

This article is excerpted from the IMA proposal, written by Jennifer Bentzel, Outreach and Engagement Manager at jbentzel@imaworldhealth.org.