Cancer is the leading cause of death in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over the next five years, the annual number of new cases is predicted to increase to one million1. From today Partners for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Africa provide access to rapid cancer diagnostics for three million civilians in Rwanda.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), Sakura Finetek and other partners have announced the opening of a state of the art histopathology laboratory in Butaro, Rwanda.
Providing patients in resource limited areas of Rwanda with access to rapid cancer diagnostics and appropriate care and treatment.
'The concept being put into practice is unique,’ said Dan A. Milner, Jr., MD, MSc(Epi), FASCP, ASCP's Chief Medical Officer. ‘Creating an entire system, from selecting sites for laboratories, installing high through-put pathology equipment, using whole-slide imaging, and creating teams of 15 pathologists focused on that site to review the high quality slides for a one day diagnosis, is unique. It is a focused effort to create systems for a given large region, at a scale that has never been done before, and certainly not for free.'
To ensure the sustainability of the project in-house employees are extensively trained on use and daily maintenance of the different instruments, supporting the “one day diagnose” ambition. Sakura Finetek has donated high capacity histopathology instruments to cover the whole routine pathology process. With this installation the capacity of the laboratory increased from 150 per month to 1000 blocks per day.
The new laboratory is located at the Butaro Center of Excellence in Cancer Care at the Butaro District Hospital in northern Rwanda. The coalition is using automated instruments for routine pathology and a cloud-based system that allows physicians in Rwanda to upload complete whole slides images of patient tissue and receive diagnostic results from pathologists in the United States within 24-72 hours.
'Histopathology was a major gap in Rwanda,'Dr. Mazarati Head of the Rwanda Biomedical Center said. 'This package of equipment will allow us to take our cancer patient care to the next level so we can say 'Patient “X” with cancer at this stage can have this treatment. This laboratory is the realization of that possibility.'
The Scientific Group, a division of Ascendis Health Medical, Sakura’s partner in the sub-Sahara will provide technical support and supplies consumables to keep the lab process continuous, based on agreements made locally by ASCP and Partners in Health. ‘This creates empowerment at the hospital to independently keep the high quality diagnoses secured for the future. Together with the other partners we want to make sure that instruments are not only dropped in places at need, but that high quality, rapid and one day diagnoses are taking place now and in times to come” said Mr. Chris Koeman, president and CEO of Sakura Finetek EMEAI.
Partners for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Africa, a coalition announced in 2015 by the White House, is led by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the world's largest professional organization for pathologists and laboratory professionals. The coalition has developed an economical, scalable, and secure approach to help millions of people across Sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti who previously had no access to cancer diagnostics, or care and treatment.
To learn more about the initiative, visit www.ascp.org/globalimpact.