UICC Young Leaders' Testimonials

Dr Christian Ntizimira from Rwanda was selected as a UICC Young Leader in 2016.

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Christian is currently a Masters Candidate at the Harvard Medical School/Global Health & Social Medicine. He is also the Executive Secretary a.i of Rwanda Palliative Care & Hospice Organisation (RPCHO) and former Director of Kibagabaga District Hospital in Kigali (2010-2013).

A palliative care physician, Christian pioneered integration of end of life care into health services rendered to Rwandan patients with chronic illnesses in acute care and community settings. Dr Ntizimira is a Researcher Collaborator at Harvard Global Equity Initiative - Lancet Commission on Global Access to Pain Control and Palliative Care (GAPPCP). He is a 2015-2017 African Cancer Leaders Institute Fellow and member of the African Organisation for Research & Training in Cancer (AORTIC). Dr Ntizimira holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from the National University of Rwanda and received his palliative medicine training at Harvard Medical School. 

Christian's experience as a UICC Young Leader... 

"It was a great honour and privilege to be selected as a UICC Young Leader and it felt like the recognition of the important role of palliative care in humane cancer care. I had the opportunity to meet leaders and stakeholders from all over the world whom I I wouldn’t be able to meet otherwise. My conversations with them gave me a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges of being a leader, and its impact from the local to global level. I also met other UICC Young Leaders and we exchanged our varied experiences in cancer prevention, control and treatment, and our ongoing projects. The programme provided exposure to different cultures, ideas and opportunities that helped me understand new perspectives and the wonderful solutions adapted in different settings. I learnt a lot from the fellow Young Leaders and they inspired me to think of novel ways to implement projects.

After attending the 2016 World Cancer Leaders’ Summit and World Cancer Congress in Paris, I went back to Rwanda and urged board members of the Rwanda Palliative Care and Hospice Organisation (RPCHO) to become a UICC member. A few months later we joined as members and became part of the tremendous network and cancer community that UICC unites. I was inspired to set up a local ‘Kigali Palliative Care Network’ which brings together all hospitals located in Kigali to work collectively and offer humane cancer care. My broader understanding helped structure this network in an optimal way to refer our patients, share information on different types of cancer and available treatment."

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Dr Mellany Murgor from Kenya was selected as a UICC Young Leader in 2014.

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Mellany is a General Practitioner in Kenya and serves as a volunteer member and Africa Coordinator of the Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network (YP-CDN).

Following her participation as a UICC Young Leader, Dr Murgor has continued to be a youth public health advocate, focussing primarily on non-communicable diseases. She has served as a panel speaker to amplify youth voices in various forums including the World Health Assembly, UN ECOSOC meetings, and the WHO Global Coordinating Mechanism (GCM) on NCDs. Her efforts have been recognised and she participated in the inaugural Global NCD Alliance Forum in 2015 and the Young Africa Leadership Initiative, East Africa in 2016. 

Mellany's experience as a UICC Young Leader... 

“I missed my medical school graduation day to attend the 2014 World Cancer Leaders’ Summit and World Cancer Congress in Melbourne but it was totally worth it! These were the first international events I attended and they were a great stepping stone to my professional life.

During the congress, I participated in a Rapid-Fire presentation and also shared my experiences during the NCD Café, hosted by NCD Alliance. I expanded my professional network and kept in touch with a lot of people I met, gaining invaluable knowledge about what was happening within the field of cancer control globally.

I especially connected and kept in contact with fellow Young Leaders Neha Tripathi from India, and Funmilola James from Nigeria, among others. All of us participated in the American Cancer Society’s Global Scholars’ program on cancer Advocacy and continue to work together, mentor, and support each other.

Since being part of the Young Leaders Programme, my strong interest in adolescent and women’s health has gained momentum. Through YP-CDN and its partners, I have collaboratively organised an advocacy training on Access to Essential Treatment for NCDs in Kenya, for young professionals.

I am currently a fellow of the RTI International and YP-CDN’s NextGen Leaders Program. My research focus is on health financing for NCDs, a topic I was first exposed to at the 2014 World Cancer Leaders’ Summit which focused on ‘The Economic Case for Cancer Control’. Realising its importance and the indirect costs of treatment motivated me to focus on this specific topic for my fellowship.

During the 2016 World Cancer Congress in Paris, I participated in a Master Course on ‘Effective partnership management in addressing the challenges of cancer control’. The course taught me important principles related to cross-sector partnering that I could apply to different aspects of my every day work.”

Last update: 
Thursday 23 November 2017
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