Globally, cancer is a leading cause of mortality and morbidly; and sadly this disease claims millions of lives each year. In developed countries, the burden of cancer is increasing in developing countries as childhood mortality and deaths from infectious diseases decline and more people live to older ages. In a report to the World Bank that ranked countries according to their national investments and productivity in science and technology, South Africa, Egypt, and Mauritius did reasonably well, while the rest of Africa appeared at the bottom of the league table under “scientifically lagging countries.”

Egypt’s Fakkous Center for Cancer and Allied Diseases (FCC) is an inspiring NGO, global health model, which other resource poor African countries can model. FCC’s mission is to help rural Egyptian villages prevent and fight cancer. Established 20 years ago, they integrate tertiary cancer services with primary healthcare facilities in rural communities for both adults and children. They focus on diagnostic screening, treatment, prevention and homecare. Their rural micro-center has 50 in-patient beds and two operating rooms with radiotherapy. They employ young doctors in need of field experience, and rural villagers in need of vocational skills. Their approach not only improves cancer medical infrastructure in rural areas, but also provides a sound economic base for long term sustainability.