Background and Context:
In Sub-Saharan, due to high prevalence of HIV and lack of cancer screening program, there is rising incidence of cancer. In Botswana, for example, there are close to 300 new cases of locally advanced cervical cancer presenting a year in a radiation oncology clinic. Over 80% of these patients are HIV positive. There are no definitive data to guide treatment of these patients. Other major issues include lack of human resources and access to training.
To address these issues, Botswana-UPENN partnership (BUP) and Department of Radiation Oncology at University of Pennsylvania (UPENN) are working together with the Ministry of Health and University of Botswana (UB) to address needs in cancer care in Botswana. BUP is a collaborative clinical and research program in Gaborone, where UPENN faculty members have been providing HIV care for patients in Botswana for over a decade.
With guidance from the MOH and UB following initiatives are underway:
Clinical care: One UPENN oncology faculty member will be based in Botswana to help standardize treatments, streamline clinical care, developing a cancer follow-up program and integrating oncology clinic with the cervical cancer screening program at BUP to limit delay of treatment.
Clinical education: Help develop oncology curriculum for medical students and medical officers
Nursing education: Develop nursing education modules
Patient education: Develop patient education modules focusing on importance of screening, treatment and toxicities
Low cost technologies: Develop technologies for the following areas: low cost screening tools, patient navigation tools, radiation treatment design, medical records and patient education.
Research: Develop research with collaborators from Botswana studying epidemiology, treatment access, outcome, tolerability and role of immunity and cancer.
Cross-institutional collaboration: We will work with other institutions interested in similar efforts and encourage communication and coordination of efforts to have highest impact on the ground.