Botswana-Rutgers Partnership for Health
In August 2018, Rutgers Global Health Institute engaged with Botswana leadership, including the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the University of Botswana, to identify global health partnership opportunities. Through these efforts, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, established a memorandum of understanding with the University of Botswana to:
- create local, subspecialty medical and health professions training programs;
- build workforce capacity with Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital, the new academic teaching hospital in Botswana;
- advance the continuum of cancer care and prevention in all settings; and
- advise on the creation of an undergraduate program in biomedical engineering.
Building upon these efforts, Rutgers and the Government of Botswana signed an agreement to launch the Botswana-Rutgers Mahube Partnership for Transformation in February 2019. (Mahube means “new dawn” in Botswana’s local Setswana language.) Led by Botswana President Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi and Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi, the broad partnership will focus on health care, information technology, higher education and research, entrepreneurship and innovation, civic leadership, and other needs.
The Botswana-Rutgers Partnership for Health is an essential part of this far-reaching initiative.
Transforming Cancer Care and Prevention
An immediate priority of the Botswana-Rutgers Partnership for Health is to address the country’s urgent cancer care and prevention needs. The cancer mortality rate in Botswana is close to 75 percent, and many patients present with advanced disease. There are minimal prevention and support services, long delays in cancer detection and diagnosis, deficiencies in the availability of cancer medications, unreliable data registries, and severe shortages in the specialty-trained workforce.
The partnership will implement a national needs assessment across the country, with the aim of funding and scaling up cancer care and prevention across the continuum. By establishing a national, comprehensive cancer care and prevention program, Botswana can save lives, prevent disease, and create a model for implementation in other African nations and developing countries around the world.