The BOTSOGO collaboration started as an educational partnership between MGH cancer researchers and clinicians and HIV researchers from BHP who had developed a robust research infrastructure and in-country presence in Botswana. With groundwork in place, BOTSOGO now aims to magnify the impact of the collaboration by fully engaging the research capacity of MGH Cancer Center investigators onsite in Botswana in collaboration with BHP and our network of Botswana-based clinicians, investigators, and policy-makers.
The Government of Botswana
At the time of independence in 1966, Botswana was one of the poorest countries in the Africa, with almost no healthcare infrastructure. In recent years, the development of stable democratic governance and the subsequent discovery of mineral wealth have permitted rapid and sustained economic expansion in Botswana. By investing in healthcare, the government of Botswana has supported the construction of over 300 health clinics and dozens of hospitals to care for a population of 2 million. In the early 2000s, when the HIV epidemic dropped life expectancy to below 40 years of age in Botswana, the government worked in collaboration with organizations such as BHP to reverse this dramatic decline and bring life expectancy back to over 50 years. Botswana had one of the first public antiretroviral treatment programs in Africa and has achieved remarkable coverage with over 90% of citizens in need of treatment currently on therapy.
Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership
The efforts of the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) in Botswana took shape during the HIV epidemic, and the organization has been working hand-in-hand with the government of Botswana for nearly two decades. As an independent research organization located in Gaborone, the capital and largest city in Botswana, and affiliated with the Harvard School of Public Health and the Botswana Ministry of Health, BHP serves as the primary AIDS research and AIDS-related public health facility in Botswana. BHP is a well-integrated and trusted resource in Botswana, having initiated the first HIV treatment clinics in partnership with the government and played a key advisory role in addressing the needs for HIV prevention and treatment.
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a top-ranked independent hospital in the United States, is one of the primary teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School and conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the world. As an integral part of this academic medical center, the MGH Cancer Center is among the leading cancer care providers in the United States. Known for providing innovative treatments and compassionate care to both adults and children, the Cancer Center comprises 24 fully integrated, multidisciplinary clinical programs and pursues basic, clinical and translational research, including nearly 400 clinical trials annually. Through BOTSOGO, the Cancer Center has engaged a multidisciplinary team of MGH/Harvard faculty members and trainees in partnership with BHP to share expertise in clinical care in Botswana. BOTSOGO has developed a forum for monthly multidisciplinary case discussions and education, has sponsored a number of team visits to the primary cancer care facilities in Botswana, and has built partnerships with local stakeholders for long-term sustainability and growth.