Dar es Salaam, 27 January 2014 – A new cancer treatment programme at the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam was launched today in the presence of Princess Zahra. Part of a significant five-year expansion of the hospital, it complements a wider effort by the AKDN to establish a high quality, affordable, integrated healthcare system in East Africa.

The hospital's TShs 130 billion (approximately USD $80 million) expansion is the single largest private sector investment in Tanzanian health care. It will add comprehensive services in cardiology, oncology, neurosciences, critical care, maternal and child health and advanced diagnostics in the months and years ahead.

“We are committed to achieving the vision of the Aga Khan Development Network to be the premier teaching healthcare system in Tanzania,” said Princess Zahra at the launch event. “In addition to the five existing Aga Khan Health Services Primary Health Care Centres in the country, we will establish an additional 30 outreach health centres that will be closely linked in a hub and spoke model with the hospital.”

Noting the growing burden of cancers in developing countries, the Honourable Seif Seleman Rashid, Minister for Health and Social Welfare, acknowledged the importance of the new oncology programme in addressing Tanzania's challenges. He expressed the gratitude of the Tanzanian government to the Aga Khan Health Services for making quality healthcare more accessible in Tanzania.

The expansion is further enhanced by the Aga Khan University's educational plans in medicine and nursing that will see the establishment of postgraduate residency programmes across all specialties at the Dar es Salaam hospital. Raising the bar on quality and achieving international standards of healthcare is also central to the vision, noted Princess Zahra.

“Part of the AKDN health system in East Africa, [the hospital] is working towards achieving the prestigious Joint Commission International Accreditation,” she said. “The Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi became the first healthcare institution in East Africa to attain this certification in July 2013.”

Citing the importance of meaningful and value added partnerships to the success of this project, Princess Zahra thanked the governments of Canada and France for lending their financial support to the hospital expansion. France was represented at the event by His Excellency Marcel Escure, Ambassador of France in Tanzania, and AFD representative in Tanzania Christophe Barat.

“We know that we cannot achieve this ambitious agenda alone,” said Princess Zahra.