A new support center for cancer patients in Butaro

 (Left to right) Dr. Alex Coutinho, executive director of Inshuti Mu Buzima; PIH co-founder Ophelia Dahl; Burera Mayor Florence Nambajemariya; and Northern Province Governor Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi, lay the first bricks for construction of the Butaro Cancer Support Center in Rwanda, on Sept. 15, 2017. Photo by Bpb Muhumuza

(Left to right) Dr. Alex Coutinho, executive director of Inshuti Mu Buzima; PIH co-founder Ophelia Dahl; Burera Mayor Florence Nambajemariya; and Northern Province Governor Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi, lay the first bricks for construction of the Butaro Cancer Support Center in Rwanda, on Sept. 15, 2017. Photo by Bpb Muhumuza

Partners In Health, the Government of Rwanda and other collaborators broke ground in September on an innovative, two-story building that will be able to house more than 70 cancer patients, loved ones and caregivers on the Butaro District Hospital campus, providing stability and community during extended treatment. 

Crews are laying foundations and framework for the Butaro Cancer Support Center, which will provide housing, a cafeteria and meeting spaces for patients and caregivers. Doctors at the adjacent Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence treat hundreds of children and adults every year. Many of those patients travel to Butaro from across Rwanda or from surrounding countries, where high-quality cancer care can be scarce or non-existent.

The support center’s design features open-air galleries and roofed, exterior walkways lined with arches, creating shared spaces where patients, attendants and clinicians can gather. Architectural firm MASS Design integrated a patients’ needs assessment and surveys of patients, attendants and clinicians into design decisions, which focus on dignity and wellness during the entirety of patients’ cancer treatment.

The support center’s Sept. 15 groundbreaking featured leaders of PIH along with Rwanda government officials and representatives of several partners and local communities. The center's construction is sponsored by the Massachusetts-based law firm of Faber, Daeufer & Itrato and supported by the generous gifts of individual donors. 

 Rendering by Mass Design

Rendering by Mass Design

Alida Ruzibiza