National Framework of Paediatric oncology centres:
Currently Upendo ward at MNH is the only dedicated childrens cancer ward in Tanzania. Over the next 5-10 years additional paediatric oncology treatment sites will be developed within the National University network of teaching hospitals. This growth and expansion will be conducted in a planned and collaborative fashion under the guidance of the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. All centres will share many services including procurement process, protocols, SOP guidelines, centralised pathology services and access to paediatric oncology higher education.
Currently TLM and Upendo ward are partnering closely with two regional hospitals who are sharing care of children with cancer. These are KCMC in Moshi and Sengerema in the Mwanza region. This shared care programme means that children spend far less time in hospital as much more of their care can take place close to their homes. It also means children are treated sooner and a standard of care in terms of histopathology, staging and delivery of protocols is maintained across each participating site. Ultimately it will lead to fewer avoidable deaths and many more cures.
International hospitals, Universities and NGO’s have been identified to assist with the development and maintenance of these services not only in MNH but at two additional Universities – KCMC and BMC. OLCHC has a long relationship with MNH and is officially twining in 2015 thanks to an initiative supported by the European Ester Alliance. The Oxford University hospital group (supported by THET) is also exploring the option of officially twinning with MNH.
KCMC has an established relationship with FCCT which is affiliated with the University of Minnesota This organisation is very interested in supporting paediatric (and Adult) oncology services at KCMC and TLM plans to work with both the department of paediatrics at KCMC and the FCCT team to establish the second national paediatric oncology centre at KCMC.
Bugando has a long relationship with an Italian group called AFRICOG and more recently with Duke University. Bugando Medical Centre has an established relationship with Duke University and a paediatric oncologist is already situated at Bugando. TLM plans to work with BMC and Duke University to support the development of a third paediatric oncology facility at BMC.
Although TLM will not be twinning directly with any of these additional international partners, board agreements are being negociated such that Tanzania will have a single National Paediatric strategy – sharing drug procurement, protocols, documents, and some services – including pathology.
For a country as vast as Tanzania it would make sense to have additional centres spread geographically for ease of access to all patients. These will be identified and developed over time and will include Dodmoa, Mbeya, Kigoma. This planned expansion will be complete when all children with cancer can travel to a centre within 4-5 hours.