Leaders of tomorrow meet at the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit

This year, the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit in Nur-Sultan was attended by leaders in global cancer control eager to discuss ways in which cancer detection, treatment and care contribute to the achievement of Universal Health Coverage. Fittingly, among the participants were UICC’s latest cohort of Young Leaders and 12 Young Leader Alumni.

This was the first opportunity for the eight latest recruits in this growing community of change-makers to meet each other, as well as the broader UICC network. At a dedicated breakfast meeting during the Summit, they received a very warm and enthusiastic welcome from the UICC’s leadership, including current President, HRH Princess Dina Mired, as well as two of its past Presidents: Prof. Sanchia Aranda, who started her career as a nurse, was particularly pleased to greet Florence Manjuh, the first nurse to be named a UICC Young Leader; Dr Mary Gospodarowicz, who had been pivotal in starting the whole initiative during her term back in 2013, commended the progress the programme had made over the years.

UICC Young Leaders' attending the World Cancer Leaders' Summit in Kazakhstan
UICC's Young Leaders' past and present pose for a selfie at the 2019 World Cancer Leaders' Summit in Kazakhstan.


The variety of sessions at hand during the three days ensured there was something to suit each of our Young Leaders’ interests. Kingsley Ndoh and Omolola Salako, both working on improving cancer diagnostics and care through the use of technology, attended the “Big data, advanced analytics and personalised cancer care” session co-hosted by the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Roche, the core supporter of the Young Leaders Programme, where academic, pharmaceutical and government representatives discussed the value big data and advanced analytics can bring to cancer care. Representatives from Roche were impressed with the new cohort and pleased to see their embracing of digital health.

The World Cancer Leaders’ Summit was also the ideal occasion for Young Leaders to connect with UICC members working in similar fields. Ishtar Espejo Castellá from Fundacion Aladina was able to meet with a representative from the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon and share their fundraising strategies and programmes for children with cancer. While Ahmed Mahmoud Hefnawy of the Women Health Hospital, Assiut University, in Egypt was able to share his ambitions to expand palliative care provisions in his country with palliative care expert Dr Emmanuel Luyrika from the African Palliative Care Association.

“The World Cancer Leaders’ Summit is a wonderful place to meet future collaborators and work together towards improving cancer control globally” Murallitharan Munisamy, Public Health Physician & Medical Director at the National Cancer Society of Malaysia, 2019 Young Leader

The more seasoned Young Leader Alumni present at the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit provided invaluable support to the new cohort, as well as inspiration for their journey ahead. Many of the alumni are now recognised leaders in the cancer control community and played key roles during the Summit as speakers and facilitators. André Ilbawi, representing the WHO, spoke in a number of sessions on topics ranging from access to cancer medicines, the WHO Cancer Prioritisation and Costing tool, to cervical cancer elimination. During the plenary Tsetsegsaikhan Batmunkh, from the National Cancer Council Mongolia, presented her country’s specific challenges in defining national UHC packages, reminding participants that a one size fits all approach does not work when it comes to health services. Danielle Rodin of Princess Margaret Cancer Center and the first Young Leader to sit on the UICC Board, moderated a panel of experts on personalised cancer care.

UICC Young Leaders' take part in a workshop at the 2019 World Cancer Leaders' Summit
Young Leaders' sharing ideas for the next steps of the programme during the Young Leader’s Workshop.

The World Cancer Leaders’ Summit marked the first step of the 2019/2020 Young Leaders Programme. Witnessing our current Young Leaders interacting with each other, building relationships with the Young Leader Alumni and sharing innovative ideas for future projects has left us with high expectations for the coming year and the impact this group will have within the global cancer community.

“I feel more empowered to make a change in the fight against cancer” Alexandra Tamas, Project Manager at the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP), 2019 Young Leader

Last update: 
Friday 8 November 2019