Introduction and Background InformationThe department of oncology was inaugurated officially in December 2016. We are the first and only cancer center in the Northern zone of Tanzania offering comprehensive cancer services. Our team is made of dedicated highly specialized oncologists ready to advance the care to our patients in a personalized and holistic manner. We pride ourselves with the excellent care we give be it in hospital or remote. We as well hold dear the strong partnerships we have with our collaborators Foundation for cancer care in Tanzania(FCCT), Mission one World, TAKEDA, DIFAEM, Oxford University, Global health Ministry, Urology Cancer Centre and others that continue to support the services and programs at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre.
- One Clinical and radiation oncologist
- One Haematologist and oncologist
- One Paediatric haematologist and oncologist
- One Medical oncologist and haematologist
- 4 registrars
- Two pharmacists
- One laboratory scientist
- 19 nurses
- One social worker and patient navigator
- Cancer registry- a statistician/cancer registry coordinator and one nurse/cancer registrar
- Administration- 8
- Statistics and ICT – Petro Nsalu
- PUVA Therapy – Dr. Herielly Msuya/Dr. Jere Mshana
A. Outpatient Services
Our in-hospital out-patient services comprises of a clinic and a chemotherapy suite. Our clinic comprises of a reception where patients are registered and immediately are seen by our experienced nurses for triaging and vitals taking. They are then ushered to one of our four consultation rooms to see our team of four specialists and their registrars on board. We care for all malignancies in children and adults and our list of specialists cater for in all areas of oncology.
We have an own lab within the clinic with haematology analyser and biochemistry machine. Patients can have their blood tests done and results issued timely. We as well do read peripheral smears and flow cytometry for our haematological malignancy patients.
The chemotherapy suite is equipped with 12 comfortable chemotherapy bays for our patients on systemic cancer treatment. We strive for high standards in cytotoxic handling and administration. Our team of trained nurses and pharmacists are always there to make sure the patient is comfortable and safe while on treatment.
B. Inpatient Services
We have an inpatient oncology ward which officially was inaugurated December 2020. It has a capacity of 47 beds admitting both children and adults. It has 4 isolation rooms specially designed with HEPA filters for patients with febrile neutropenic sepsis. It has a procedure room where most of our bone marrow biopsies are done. The rest are supporting rooms and offices for staff.
C. Outreach Programs
Apart from offering palliative care in the hospital setting, we as well do patient home visits twice a week. Our palliative care coordinator with a team comprising a social worker, a medical doctor and depending on the needs of the patient a psychologist/counselor to bring care to the patients’ home. We offer appropriate pain management and offer patients morphine and adjunctive medications as well as end of life care and emotional support both to the patient and relatives.
D. Cancer Registry
Cancer center runs the oldest cancer registries in Tanzania. It is a population-based cancer registry, and covers 5 districts in Kilimanjaro Region. In the year 2020, it became a member of the African Cancer Registry network (AFCRN). Our cancer registry continues to provide the ministry of health with vital statistics on cancer as well being a main source of data for those doing research.
E. Prevention and Awareness Campaigns
Among our first pillars at the center are Awareness and Prevention, screening and early detection. In collaboration with other departments at KCMC, we have been able to do several campaigns and screening especially to women for cancer of the cervix and breast, and we continue to educate our communities about the risk factors, early signs and symptoms and the various cancer treatments available at our setting.
The success of these programs like others we run have been very successful due to the great collaborative efforts with our local team which includes our public health specialist and our international collaborators. Thus far, our prevention and awareness campaigns (PreVACamp) has touched most districts in Kilimanjaro region and some in Arusha. We have expanded these into education to health care givers in the community as well as secondary school students.
Our research capacities have evolved with time. Most of our research has been qualitative research and we currently have formed partnerships with various universities such as Oxford university which we share a clinical trial in lymphoma patients as well as in breast cancer with individual researchers in the United States from the University of Minnesota. We continue to explore opportunities in research and the available call for grants with Kilimanjaro Clinical research institute as well as engage our strong partners in the pharmaceutical industry mainly TAKEDA pharmaceutical.