Breast cancer and cervical cancer are responsible for more than half of all cancer deaths in Tanzania.

Cervical cancer is Tanzania’s most common cancer (38.4% of all newly developed cancers in women in 2012), and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Tanzanian women. Eighty percent of women with cervical cancer present with advanced-stage cancer.

Breast cancer is the second-most-common cancer among Tanzanian women (14.4% of newly developed cancers in women in 2012).

Country targets supported by Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon:

  • Screen 50 percent of women aged 30-49 years in the PRRR-supported Regions for cervical cancer at least once in five years.
  • Scale “See-and-Treat” services in the PRRR-supported Regions to as many as 100 total sites by the end of 2017.

Please view our road map for more information about our programs in Tanzania.

Tanzania Road Map

Click here to view a detailed map of PRRR sites in the country. 


Cervical cancer education at Buhingo dispensary waiting area

Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon and partners began our efforts in Tanzania in 2014, after the Government of Tanzania endorsed visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) and cryotherapy in 2010, and, in 2011, adopted a five-year comprehensive plan to prevent cervical cancer.

Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon (PRRR) has adopted a regional approach in Tanzania, and rolled out “Screen-and-Treat” programs for cervical pre-cancer to 16 sites across Iringa, Mbeya and Njombe Regions, as well as the Lake Zone (Mwanza and Mara), and has now expanded to nine Regions with plans to add more sites in 2017. A referral hospital in each Region provides VIA, cryotherapy and the loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP). Mass screening campaigns complement satellite clinics’ and hospitals’ offerings of VIA and cryotherapy. Additionally, a network of private family-planning clinics through Marie Stopes International provides screening and treatment for cervical cancer with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) in Dar es Salaam is the only comprehensive cancer-treatment center in Tanzania where radiotherapy services are available free to Tanzanians, but many of the 10,000 women diagnosed with cervical or breast cancer each year in Tanzania lack the funds for transportation. In 2015, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partners T-MARC Tanzania and Comprehensive Community-Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) began supporting bus transportation for women newly diagnosed with cervical cancer to travel to ORCI for treatment, with funding from Vodacom Foundation Tanzania. Click here to learn about how individual women have benefited from this project.

Additionally, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon launched an international competition to solicit designs for proposed hostel accommodations  for female cancer patients who are receiving treatment at Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) in Dar es Salaam and Bugando Medical Centre (BMC) in Mwanza. The competition, “Hostels for Hope,” launched with the George W. Bush Institute, the American Cancer Society (ACS), HKS, Inc., and Southern Methodist University (SMU), solicited designs from both student and professional architects to use their ingenuity and creativity to design “homes-away-from-home” for women undergoing treatment for cervical or breast cancer. The winners were announced on World Cancer Day, February 2017, in Dar es Salaam.  A team of students from the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development created the winning design for a hostel at ORCI in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  Meanwhile, a team from Masa Studio in Rome, Italy – led by Emanuele Santini submitted the winning design for a hostel at BMC in Mwanza, Tanzania.            

Tanzania is eligible for support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for a HPV vaccination demonstration program. From 2014 to 2015, Tanzania vaccinated 34,494 of the 40,370 targeted adolescent girls against the human papillomavirus (HPV) in the Kilimanjaro Region, reaching 84 percent coverage. Tanzania’s HPV vaccination program has been using the two-dose regimen from the start of the program in 2014 and will be submitting its application to Gavi in 2017 for a nationwide roll-out that will start in 2018.


A consortium led by the National Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, entitled “Improving Data for Decision-Making in Global Cervical Cancer Programs” (IDCCP), is supporting the work of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon in Tanzania by field-testing monitoring tools to enhance the quality, coverage and scale of interventions against the disease.

Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partners have been involved with the development of national quality-improvement guidelines for cervical-cancer screening, and the development of harmonized national treatment protocols for invasive female cancers.

With financial support from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, five local NGOs are educating communities about cervical cancer, helping guide women to screening, facilitating the referral of women for advanced care, and advocating with policy-makers and Parliamentarians to make the fight against women’s cancers a budgetary and programmatic priority.

Screening for breast cancer is also part of the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon offerings in Tanzania, and our partners are involved in the development of national training guidelines for clinical breast examinations by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children.

Tanzania is another country in which champions have helped make detecting and treating cervical and breast cancer a national priority. Her Excellency First Lady Mama Salma Kikwete led a mass screening campaign herself in March 2014, and encouraged Members of Parliament and local leaders to prioritize women’s cancers in their budgets (read more about Mrs. Kikwete’s advocacy here). 

Progress of PRRR Collaboration in Tanzania (January 2014 – June 2017)

  • Sites that currently offer cervical cancer screening and treatment:
    • VIA and cryotherapy (fixed sites): 20
    • VIA and cryotherapy (mobile outreaches): 20
    • Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP): 4
  • Health staff trained (VIA/Cryotherapy): 87
  • Community health care workers trained (mobilization): 42
  • Women screened with VIA: 112,999
    • Of Women Screened, Number VIA-Positive: 6,099
      • Of Women VIA-Positive, Number Treated with Cryotherapy or LEEP: 3,969
  • Women screened for breast cancer: 11,251
  • Women transported for advanced cervical cancer treatment: 373

Contributions from Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Partners

  • U.S. Government: US$ 3 million in PEPFAR funds over five years to scale up “See-and-Treat” at 16 sites across three Regions by training health-care providers and procuring equipment; and US$ 300,000 in PEPFAR funds for two staff positions at the MoHCDGEC, through UNAIDS, to coordinate and monitor programs against cervical cancer.
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation: US$ 1.2 million over three years to fund a consortium of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to raise awareness about women’s cancers and conduct screening campaigns.
  • BMGF/Marie Stopes: US$ 833,000 over five years to family planning networks to offer screening and treatment of cervical pre-cancer.
  • UNAIDS: Loan of two staff to the MoHCDGEC to coordinate and monitor programs against cervical cancer; US$ 30,000 for expansion of services.
  • Merck/Susan G. Komen: US$ 170,000 for the training of health workers, for see-and-treat equipment, and technical assistance.

Intake procedure during cervical cancer screening event in Iringa

  • Susan G. Komen: US$ 145,000 to create national guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer and to develop harmonized national treatment protocols for invasive female cancers in collaboration with MD Anderson and technical assistance.
  • MD Anderson: U$ 380,000 of technical assistance from 2013-2019.
  • GSK: US$ 122,000 for two GSK PULSE volunteers assigned for six months each to assist BMC and the local NGOs funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation in data and program management.
  • ACS: US$ 87,500 for the international design competition for cancer hostels.
  • Vodacom Foundation/T-MARC/CCBRT: US$ 87,400 for the transportation of patients with advanced cervical cancer to and from treatment centers.
  • Pfizer/Susan G. Komen: US$ 85,000 to support the development of culturally appropriate breast-cancer information, education and communication toolkit.
  • BMGF/CDC Foundation/Jhpiego: Field-testing of monitoring tools for cervical cancer. 

2017 Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Priorities

  1. Open new screen-and-treat sites with funds from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and Merck/Susan G. Komen®.
  2. Recruit and place two staff at the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoHCDGEC), through the Country Office of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), with funds from PEPFAR, to support national planning, coordination and monitoring and evaluation on cervical cancer.
  3. Provide transportation services for as many as 750 patients with cervical cancer to travel from their homes to ORCI and BMC.
  4. Support the development of national service-delivery guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer.
  5. Launch operations research project to harmonize treatment protocols among BMC, ORCI and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC).
  6. Explore a twinning arrangement between ORCI and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center on capacity-building.
  7. Connect BMC in Mwanza to nationwide laboratory network (LabNet).


A new strategy, developed after months of collaboration between PEPFAR and the Bush Institute-led Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon (PRRR) partnership, builds on the catalytic work of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon over the past seven years, and evolves that collaboration to save even more lives.

Learn more