News & Perspectives

Cancer care milestone reached in Lesotho

Meet the first patient to receive chemotherapy in the landlocked African nation

November 29, 2022     

For too many years, cancer patients in Lesotho felt life-changing cancer treatment was out of reach. No oncology clinics existed in their landlocked country ringed by steep mountains and surrounded by South Africa. Those hoping to receive treatment journeyed hours, traversing mountains to reach Bloemfontein, South Africa. Some patients crossed the ocean to India, staying for many weeks of treatment away from their loved ones.

For sicker patients, and for the many patients struggling to provide food and housing for their families, care was simply not an option. That is, until now.



Speaking softly, Dr. Pearl recalls, “When I had cancer, I learned firsthand that patients encounter many problems traveling to receive treatment. The journey is long and difficult, and our transportation is often unreliable.”

She emphasized, “It was important to me to work towards a better experience for patients.”

She often displays that empathy, gently patting a shoulder, tucking in a blanket, nodding her head, listening carefully to concerns, and always offering clear, thoughtful answers to questions. Continue to next photo


That first infusion in July was the result of years of planning and collaboration to improve access to healthcare for the people of Lesotho.

Last year, the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation launched the first Comprehensive Cancer Care Centre of Excellence in Soweto, the fourth largest city in South Africa. The facility and its local team provide access to cancer care for some 1.8 million residents.

Learn more about the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, and similar work the Foundation is doing to address health disparities in Brazil.

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