Historical Background


The Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) is located along the Indian Ocean about 200 meters from the beach.  This health facility is one of the oldest health institutions in Tanzania having been founded in 1895 by the German colonial government.  At its inception the hospital catered for German community only.  In 1920. After the world war I, the British colonial government followed the footsteps of their predecessors and continued to provide medical services and facilities for European communities in this hospital, while Africans had to fend for themselves.  

The hospital was inaugurated in October 1895, people were impressed both by its functional usefulness and aesthetic attraction. The history of the German Government Hospital reflects the political context of the time as well as the progress of medicine in combatting endemic diseases.

While patients were often segregated by race the Ocean Road hospital was almost exclusively reserved for Europeans, they were all benefitting from the results of medical science taking place in the hospital. For Robert Koch the hospital (and its laboratory) served as basis for his research in the field of malaria, tuberculosis, black water fever, sleeping sickness, and relapsing fever. It was from Africa that he embarked on his journey to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize in December 1905 for his investigations and discoveries in relation to tuberculosis (TB).

During the First World War Ocean Road Hospital, was taken over by the British and it was catering for the Europeans. After independence in 1961, the Tanzanians took over the hospital and it was catering for all Tanzanians despite of the race.

After Independence all racial barriers from the colonial past were removed and the Hospital catered for all races.  In the sixties and seventies, the Ocean Road Hospital operated as a maternity wing of the Muhimbili Medical Centre (MMC).  In 1980, a decision was made by the Ministry of Health to make the Ocean Road Hospital the hub for radiotherapy services for the Muhimbili medical centre. The government in 1996 through Act number 2 of the parliament, established an autonomous National Cancer Institute called Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI).