Why Uganda?

Global Oncology

Why Uganda?

Grace Mbabazi, 12-years-old, undergoing treatment for Burkett lymphoma, at Uganda Cancer Institute.

Grace Mbabazi, 12-years-old, undergoing treatment for Burkett lymphoma, at Uganda Cancer Institute.

Photo by Jacqueline Koch

Uganda presents a unique set of conditions in which to investigate infection-related cancers.  With a population of 37 million, it has one of the highest rates of cancer in the world.  The two hardest-hit groups are children under the age of 12 and middle-aged adults. Nearly one-third of patients diagnosed with cancers are infected with HIV.

Six out of 10 of the most common cancers in Uganda are caused by infectious disease, making the country an ideal environment for learning about the etiology, biology, treatment and prevention of infection-associated cancers—and saving thousands of lives. Our researchers in Uganda can collect data from a large number of patients at a single site, which would be impossible in places like the United States, where infection-related cancers are less common and more widely dispersed.

Uganda also has a long history of medical education and research.  Our partner in Uganda, the Uganda Cancer Institute, has been the sole cancer facility serving five East African countries since 1967.

Uganda Distinctions

  • The first combination chemotherapy to treat cancer anywhere in the world.
  • The first description of Epstein-Barr virus causing cancer. 
  • National cancer patient registry maintained since 1954.
  • Home of Makerere University, one of Africa's top universities, and Mulago Hospital, its teaching hospital and home of the UCI.
  • Support from the Ugandan Ministry of Health for our partnership with the UCI.