Position: Vice President – North Africa

Nahla Gafer
I have been a committed clinician to improving cancer care, particularly for patients from disadvantaged backgrounds.
I earned my MD in clinical oncology in Africa and I have dedicated 14 years to oncology at a cancer center, with the majority of cases seen, being of breast cancer.
In 2009, I attended the Initiators Course at Hospice Africa Uganda, then started a palliative care clinic mid-2010. This unit has since expanded to provide inpatient consultation (2011), and home care (2022), having served over 6,000 patients, offering them holistic care. I played a pivotal role in growing the palliative care team, formed of medical officers, nurses, psychologists, and volunteers. In 2021, training in palliative care became obligatory to oncology residents.
I played a crucial role in establishing palliative care services in other parts of the region, offering training and support to professionals through workshops in Kuwait, face-to-face trainings in Mauritania, and on-line education in Gaza. I earned some prestigious awards, including the IDEA PC grant from ASCO (2014) and the title of “Visionary in Palliative Care” from AAHPM (2018).
My research interests revolve around the early integration of palliative care into oncology, title of my current PhD studies at King’s College London. I have contributed to several publications with MECC, ASCO’s palliative care expert panel, and the African palliative care research network.
I believe that through capacity building in both service delivery and research, a lot can be done, especially in changing policies and improving services, hopefully affecting cancer care in Africa.

I would a) promote inclusivity in publications, b) connect with underrepresented oncologists (especially in north-Africa, and where oncology services are yet to start), c) establish twinship programs for cross-continent collaborations and d) coordinate multisite research. I hope that my skills in communication, documentation, advocacy and research will advance AORTIC’s mission.