Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence

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Butaro, Burera District, Rwanda

The burden of noncommunicable diseases (such as, cancer, diabetes, or cardiovascular and lung disease) is disproportionately rising among low- and middle-income countries and populations. In Rwanda, this is most acutely seen in cancer, where more than 3,000cancer diagnoses were registered between 2007 and 2011. But while developing countries like Rwanda represent nealr 80% of the global cancer burden, they receive only 5% of global spending. 

To respond to this underserved and growing need, Partners In Health and Rwanda’s Ministry of Health developed The Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence—the first comprehensive cancer center in East Africa—in response to the growing and underserved need for cancer treatment in the region. Developing countries like Rwanda—which registered more than 3,000 cancer cases between 2007 and 2011—represent nearly 80% of the global cancer burden, but only 5 percent of global spending. Located next to the Butaro District Hospital, the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence offers a spectrum of diagnostic oncology and treatment services, including chemotherapy, surgery, a pathology laboratory, counseling, and palliative care. 

The center is designed to facilitate patient and staff flows, and comfortably accommodate patients and their attendants during extensive treatment regimens. Patients enter from the south wing, with its interior and exterior waiting rooms. From there, they proceed to a nearby consultation room, and then into the expansive chemotherapy infusion space.

Treatment in this new setting protects cancer patients with weakened immune systems from contagious infections by limiting their exposure to patients in the nearby hospital. The design  maximizes natural cross ventilation and air flow and includes strategically located ultraviolet germicidal irradiation lights, which neutralize 99 percent of harmful pathogens.

The facility and much of the furnishings were built with locally sourced materials, which were custom-assembled on site. The facility’s construction created more than 550 jobs for the local economy, 30 percent of them held by women.

It is the third of five MASS projects on the campus, including the Butaro District Hospital, Doctors’ Housing, Doctors’ Sharehousing, and an Oncology Support Center.

Project Details

-1.401405, 29.832337

Location: Butaro, Burera District, Northern Province, Rwanda

Year: 2013

Status: Completed

Size: 575 sq. m.

Program: The first comprehensive cancer center in East Africa, designed to provide a spectrum of diagnostic oncology and cancer treatment services.

Design types: Project Accompaniment, Architectural Design, Landscape Design, Master Planning, Construction Administration

Rwanda Ministry of Health,
Partners In Health