Newsletter | May 2019
Leadership Message | Purpose-driven commitment

One of the fondest memories from my recent trip to Tanzania was the time I spent with several of FCCT’s care providers — physicians, specialists, nurses and aides who are serving selflessly in an area of the world where resources are limited and care isn’t provided easily. In the coming months, I’d like to shine a light on a few of these special people. I know you will be touched by their purpose-driven commitment.

Hazel Reinhardt

President and CEO, Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania

Provider perspective | Advancing Care

Oliver Henke, MD

Dr. Oliver Henke made a life change most people wouldn’t even consider. In August 2016, he and his wife, Antje, moved their family of five from Berlin, Germany to Moshi, Tanzania, so he could work as an oncologist at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center [KCMC.] He is one of only two full-time oncologists in the entire Kilimanjaro Region.

Dr. Henke came to the Cancer Care Centre (CCC) with several years of oncology and palliative care in Germany. After finishing medical school, he moved to Berlin and worked at a community hospital, and later the Berlin Army Hospital. In 2010, he graduated from Berlin Medical Council with a degree in Internal Medicine and continued with a fellowship in Oncology/Hematology and Palliative Care at the Berlin University Hospital Charite’. After obtaining his specialization, he worked as the Attending Physician for Oncology at the Berlin Army Hospital for five years before he settled with his family in Tanzania.

The idea to go to Tanzania was prompted by FCCT’s website and a meeting with FCCT leadership. With encouragement from FCCT and support from "Mission One World," a German Lutheran Mission, Dr. Henke and Antje embarked on what they believed would be an amazing opportunity and committed to serving in Tanzania for three years.

Dr. Henke has made a huge impact in oncology services at KCMC. He is committed to bringing cancer awareness to the community, providing education to local doctors and fighting for quality treatment for his patients.

He has brought vast knowledge and expertise to the CCC, especially in the area of Palliative Care. He works hard to provide adequate care and treatment for the Palliative Care patients, especially those who are being cared for at home. Dr. Henke works tirelessly, despite the many challenges faced when starting up a cancer center in a developing country.

“The challenges to providing high-quality medicine in a resource-poor setting is demanding, but rewarding at the same time. The impact of our work is more than I ever expected before coming to Africa.”

We are pleased to add that Dr. Henke has extended his contract at the Cancer Care Centre another three years.

Patient Care | Connect to purpose

Gregory is a 10-year-old boy from Rombo Mkuu who was hurt while playing with friends. His story is one that serves as an example for many medical providers just why they go to places like Tanzania to provide care.

Gregory’s injuries were certainly not uncharacteristic of a boy in the 5th grade. In Gregory’s case, however, a band-aid didn’t make things better. His wounds didn’t heal properly and after two months he was in great pain.

Medications received at dispensaries in his village did nothing to ease the pain. Doctors ultimately discovered that Gregory’s leg was fractured and a cast was applied. Removal of the cast revealed a setback, the condition of his leg had worsened so Gregory was referred to KCMC for additional diagnosis.

It was there, at KCMC, imaging showed cancer in the bone and Gregory was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma; he would soon require surgery to amputate his leg just above the knee.

Four weeks after surgery Gregory started chemotherapy, remaining in the hospital for days during each cycle of treatment.

As a young child, Gregory struggled with his situation. He had difficulty understanding how he would do the things he enjoyed. Without half of his leg, he was different.

Ultimately, a prosthetic leg was made for Gregory. He was proud to be able to play again, spend time with his friends and return to school. As he returns to better health and free from cancer, Gregory is looking forward to studying medicine and growing up to be a doctor.

Technology | Advancing efficiency

A new electronic medical records [EMR] system is being introduced at KCMC, including the Cancer Care Centre. Soon traditional paper files will be gone! Staff are being trained on the new system and the transition is currently in progress.

An electronic medical record system is an important step for the CCC in terms of delivering more efficient, thorough and safer care for patients.

When they are spending less time searching through paper files and charts, doctors will have more time for meaningful interactions with patients.

The EMR system will help to streamline coordination between the CCC and other departments, and will bring about a higher level of safety and security of patient’s personal information.

Follow the FCCT on Facebook. You’ll read inspiring stories of how donor support is making a difference for providers and changing the lives of patients and families.

Save the Date | 2019 FCCT Gala

Planning is underway for the 5th annual FCCT fundraising gala where friends and supporters will gather to support efforts to improve health for those living in Tanzania.

Please mark Saturday, October 26 on your calendar for this special evening. The event will be held at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest Hotel. Plan on joining us for a night of celebration and to learn about the outstanding achievements and continued growth of cancer care in the Northern zone of Tanzania.

The inpatient cancer ward is the critical next step to improve the care that can be provided for all of the cancer patients now coming to KCMC. At this time, raising money for the inpatient ward is FCCT’s primary focus.

The gala is an enjoyable and inspiring evening featuring a silent auction and presentations from providers directly involved in the development of the Cancer Care Centre.

If you are interested in helping, such as providing a corporate, full or partial table sponsorship, donations for the live or silent auction, please reach out to Mary Cook at 612-810-5897 or We are also looking for volunteers on the day and evening of the event.

Look for registration information in upcoming newsletters and on the FCCT website. Your participation in this effort is greatly appreciated.

Mary C. Cook
Gala Chair, FCCT


Visit the FCCT website to see the progress being made and learn how your support can save lives, ease suffering and transform cancer outcomes for the people in northern Tanzania.

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