Kenya’s first female breast surgeon, Dr. Miriam Mutebi, added another cap in her feather after being elected as the new President of the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC).
She is currently a breast surgical oncologist at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) in Nairobi. Mutebi will serve a four-year term at the Cancer body’s helm, the first two of which will be spent as President-elect and the remainder as President.
AORTIC is the largest Pan-African multi-disciplinary organization focused on promotion of cancer care and control. It’s activities revolve around Cancer advocacy, research, and training on the continent.
Mutebi welcomed her appointment with joy, stating: “I am deeply honoured to be elected by fellow oncology healthcare workers from across Africa, to lead the advocacy and research work on cancer. It is a wonderful time for cancer control in Africa.”
“Through AORTIC and other initiatives, we now have a dedicated, enthusiastic, continental workforce along the entire cancer continuum,” she added.
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Mutebi offered a peek into her vision for AORTIC’s role in promotion of Cancer care and control in Africa, highlighting the need for collaboration and data-driven solutions.
“I intend to help us leverage our collective strengths and connections to innovate and develop collaborative, region-appropriate, evidence-based, data-driven solutions that help us improve journeys for cancer patients in Africa and to address current gaps,” she asserted.
Mutebi is an accomplished surgeon in addition to being involved in initiatives to get more women in oncology. She was central to the formation of the Pan-African Women’s Association of Surgeons.
She also completed a Clinical Epidemiology and Health Systems Research Degree at Cornell University and is a speaker at various forums on Cancer around the world.
As of 2020, there were only five specialty trained and registered breast surgical oncologists in Kenya. Four men and one woman – Dr. Mutebi.
“More female doctors coming into the practice has the potential to improve access to care by addressing some of these socio-cultural barriers. For instance, colleagues have shared that older women are more likely to accurately talk about their symptoms such as vaginal bleeding or discharge after menopause, which could imply cervical cancer, with a female colleague. In addition, some ladies are not comfortable having their breasts examined by clinicians of the opposite gender,” she stated in a past interview.
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