For decades, the U.S. has partnered with African nations to meet shared health challenges. A recent U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit marked an opportunity to announce new actions and renewed commitments from the U.S. to combat cancer across the continent of Africa.
These efforts, totaling about $200 million, include strengthening domestic public health infrastructure, building resilient health systems and investing in health workers, as well as providing funding for robust and impactful initiatives throughout the African continent on cancer prevention, screening, treatment and research.
The private sector has stepped up as well, responding with roughly $130 million in new efforts. These include two initiatives from the Botswana-Rutgers Partnership for Health:
- The Botswana-Rutgers Partnership for Health is piloting a rapid “screen and treat” program for breast cancer to close the breast cancer screening gap in Botswana. This pilot program involving the Office of the President of Botswana, Botswana’s Ministry of Health, the University of Botswana, Rutgers Global Health Institute and experts from Rutgers will evaluate evidence-based interventions for breast cancer screening in an asymptomatic female population across 10 primary clinics in the Serowe region of Botswana. The initiative involves training nurses to administer clinical breast examinations and to provide breast self-care education to women in the hopes of impacting global goals to decrease the burden of deaths from breast cancer.
- The Botswana-Rutgers Partnership for Health also launched Cancer Kitso, an oncology workforce training program. Rutgers Global Health Institute — with support from Bristol Myers Squibb and in partnership with the Botswana Ministry of Health and the University of Botswana as well as experts from Rutgers — will provide an in-demand education and training initiative that responds to the specialty workforce needs in oncology in Botswana and other African countries. The Cancer Kitso program will help to improve oncology and non-oncology health care professionals’ knowledge and skills in cancer care and prevention through a novel, hybrid oncology course on clinical management. In addition, the program aims to strengthen partnerships with the African Ministries of Health and academic institutions in sub-Saharan Africa to enhance the skills and capacity of public sector health care professionals in oncology. This program also serves to translate clinical science to evidence-based practices applicable for specific African settings, and to tailor to the unique needs of health care professionals in each setting.