Position: Vice President – East Africa

Christian Ntizimira
Dr. Christian Ntizimira is the author of “The Safari Concept: An African Framework on End-of-Life Care” and Founder/Executive Director of the African Center for Research on End-of-Life Care (ACREOL), a non-profit organization to bring socio-cultural equality through “Ubuntu in End-of-life Care” in Africa. He is a Fulbright Alumni and graduated from Harvard Medical School, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. Dr. Ntizimira is also an alumnus of the Kofi Annan Global Health Leadership programme, which aims to bring selected Africans to strategize, manage and lead public health programs that will transform public health in Africa.
Dr. Ntizimira is the winner of the prestigious Tällberg-Stervos Niarcos Foundation-Eliasson Global Leadership Prize 2021, for his passionate advocacy for palliative care in Rwanda and elsewhere in Africa, based on his deeply held belief that dignified end-of-life care is a human right.
He pioneered integrating palliative care and end-of-life care into health services rendered to Rwandan cancer patients and in community settings. In 2011, he received a fellowship award to study palliative care education and practice in the United States to develop palliative care in low- and middle-income countries for World Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA). From 2010–13, he was the director of Kibagabaga Hospital in Kigali. He has advised several governments on national palliative care policy, including Burundi, Rwanda, and Senegal, on access to palliative care services. Ntizimira graduated in medicine from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Rwanda. of America at Harvard Medical School’s Center for Palliative Care.

My extensive experience in the field of oncology, global health, and unwavering dedication to promoting diversity, I am confident that I possess the qualifications necessary to be considered an exemplary candidate for the AORTIC Council. I will actively engage in developing international collaborations, advocating for the inclusion of underrepresented voices, and promoting diversity within the realm of cancer research through mentorship and outreach efforts. By doing so, I aim to contribute to the advancement of minority representation in this field.

Omar Abdihamid
I lead a new cancer center (Garissa Cancer Center) in Kenya and its research department. I am passionate about global oncology and cancer research in the thematic areas of Cancer epidemiology, cancer care inequity among minorities, cultural-based cancer care, financial toxicity, and digital health.
We have recently completed the first esophageal cancer retrospective study among the Somali community in northern Kenya, the first of its kind. we hope this study will shed light on the disease burden in this community, we found a disproportionately high incidence of esophageal cancer among this minority community in Kenya.

As a young and early career oncologist from Africa, I resonate with AORTIC’s work and vision of improving Africa’s representation in the fight against cancer by adding my voice to the cause and actively participating in African-centric cancer research on the African population by African researchers. I feel ideal to serve on the AORTIC counsel because I embody the above vision and have previously collaborated on African-centric cancer research. I am willing to continue the same by working with the AORTIC community.
I will continue working with colleagues to highlight neglected cancer care needs in minorities, and in fact we are currently submitting similar work (neglected cancer care needs among nomadic communities in sub-Saharan Africa) for publication.

Alex Mremi
Alex Mremi, is anatomic pathologist at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) and a senior lecturer at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUCo), Moshi, Tanzania. He obtained his undergraduate and postgraduate training at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS). Dr. Mremi is a fellow of the College of Pathologists of East, Central and Southern Africa (COPECSA). He did a 1 year Postgraduate Certificate of Global Clinical Scholars Research Training Program at Harvard Medical School. Recently, he accomplished a PhD fellowship on HPV-based cervical cancer screening and the use of telepathology to improve cervical cancer screening and early diagnosis. Dr. Mremi is a member of various pathology and oncology professional societies including AORTIC, APECSA, USCAP and AACR . He has attended many scientific conferences both local and international for abstract presentations. He is the Head of Pathology department at KCMC and KCMUCo since 2016. Dr. Mremi is active cancer researcher and his studies are focusing on improving cancer diagnostics particularly with limited resources. His research areas of interests include global health, esophageal, breast and cervical cancers. As a senior lecturer, Dr. Mremi is extensively involved in both undergraduate and postgraduate training and research supervision in pathology sciences including general and systemic pathology as well as research methods. He has served as a PI and Co-investigator in several research projects. He has over 80 PubMed accessible scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals.

I am writing this because I am very much interested in the opportunity to serve on the AORTIC Council as Vice President-East Africa because as an academic faculty member, clinician and mid-career cancer researcher, I believe I can whole-heartedly join forces towards the fulfilment of the AORTIC vision and mission.

Sitna Ali Mwanzi
I am a health expert with over a decade of experience in the field of cancer care and research making a significant impact on lives of cancer patients in Kenya and the region.
I am currently serving as a consultant medical oncologist at the renowned Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), which houses the largest tertiary public comprehensive cancer center in Kenya, providing expert care with an average of 800 cancer patient visits each week. With a special focus on solid malignancies, including breast cancer, lung cancer, and cancer of unknown primary, I work in the whole spectrum of cancer care, spanning from cancer awareness and screening to diagnosis, staging, and treatment. My expertise extends to the use of cutting-edge targeted treatments and immunotherapy, as well as supportive and palliative care.
I am also a health policy expert contributing to the development of policies and guidelines aimed at improving the quality of life for cancer patients in Kenya and the surrounding region. I have previously served as the President of the Kenya Society of Hematology and Oncology (KESHO) and currently a member of the Sub Saharan Regional Council of ASCO and the technical working group of the National Cancer Control Program in Kenya.
In addition to my clinical and policy work, I am deeply committed to the education and training of the next generation of physicians and oncologists in the region. I am actively involved in clinical trials and research projects, serving as the principal investigator for breast cancer trials at UNITID, the University of Nairobi Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, which houses the first oncology clinical trial site at a public institution in Kenya.
I am a strong advocate for expanding access to clinical trials and promoting awareness, education, and implementable research to advance the field of oncology in Africa through a holistic and multi-faceted approach.

Being an AORTIC council member would be a huge honour for me. I would use my leadership skills, broad network locally and internationally and my passion for cancer education and research to increase healthcare workforce and funding to make more clinical trials available across the continent. My commitment to better outcomes for cancer patients in Africa through public and healthcare awareness, education and relevant implementable research is well aligned to the vision of AORTIC.

Patricia Batanda
I have been working with the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) for the last sixteen years, engaging in creating awareness, in research, policy and advocacy to improve cancer care for affected patients and their families in Africa. Research interests include determinants of access to care, game changers for cervical cancer (this involves using women who have previously screened as advocates to encourage other women in communities to come for screening), and palliative and comprehensive chronic care needs of people living with cancer. We are currently working on building models for person-centred cancer care in sub-Saharan Africa, best practices for community engagement and involvement and using the game changer intervention to scale up the uptake of cervical cancer screening in Uganda.

Being part of the APCA team, and working for the Africa region, I am well-placed in focusing more on community engagement and involvement and best practices for empowering communities to use their voices to advocate for better access to cancer care as well as cancer education and prevention services.