BOTSOGO Honored

L to R: Dr. Mukendi Kayembe, Dr. Mompati Mmalane, Dr. Musimar Zola, Matt Damon, Dr. Jason Efstathiou, Dr. Memory Bvochora-Nsingo, Dr. Scott Dryden-Peterson, Photo by Matt Stone
L to R: Dr. Mukendi Kayembe, Dr. Mompati Mmalane, Dr. Musimar Zola, Matt Damon, Dr. Jason Efstathiou, Dr. Memory Bvochora-Nsingo, Dr. Scott Dryden-Peterson, Photo by Matt Stone

On June 10th, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) honored BOTSOGO (Botswana Oncology Global Outreach program) as part of the MGH 100 awards. The event, hosted by actor and Cambridge native Matt Damon, recognized 100 individuals and organizations that are leading the fight against cancer.

BOTSOGO is a collaboration among the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP), MGH, and medical and government institutions in Botswana. The group works together to improve cancer care and research.

While AIDS-related mortality has plummeted in Africa in recent years, AIDS-related cancers are on the rise. The immune suppression caused by HIV leads to a significantly increased risk of cancer associated with viral infections. In Botswana, where about 25% of adults are HIV positive, HIV-related malignancies now account for over 60% of new cancer cases.

Until recently, Botswana lacked adequate facilities and trained specialists to treat most cancer cases. Patients were routinely sent to South Africa for treatment. BOTSOGO is working to develop capacity by collaborating with local physicians and sponsoring an active exchange between Boston and Botswana healthcare professionals.

Watch a short video about BOTSGO.

About Martha S Henry

Martha Henry is the Director of Communications for the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health AIDS Initiative.