MAP’s breast cancer volunteers finalists in this year’s Scottish Health Awards

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) would like to congratulate our Scottish-based breast cancer medical volunteers for being finalists in this year’s Scottish Health Awards, in recognition of their hard work and dedication in helping to develop Palestinian breast cancer care.

Over 620 people tuned in to watch the online award ceremony on Wednesday 9 December. Among the three finalists for the Global Citizenship Award category were a team of Scottish-based radiologists, oncologists, cancer nurses and surgeons and palliative care specialists who have been travelling to the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) with MAP to help train and develop the skills of local health workers.

Dr Philippa Whitford, a breast cancer surgeon and member of parliament, who is involved in the project, reflected:

“I am proud that we were chosen to be among three finalists for the Global Citizenship Award and among 48 finalists across all categories from almost 900 nominees. I am immensely proud of what has been achieved by the MAP project, the commitment of my Scottish Colleagues, but particularly by the Palestinian teams who have transformed the way they work. The MAP project has had a profound effect on the treatment and care available to Palestinian women with breast cancer.”

Since 2017, the team of Scottish health workers have been supporting MAP’s cross-Palestine breast cancer programme that is helping improve diagnostics, surgery and nursing in the West Bank and Gaza, and helping women access higher quality services when they need them most. Before the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus), this included regular visits from the UK to Gaza and the West Bank to provide on-the-job training to Palestinian clinicians. Since March, this training has moved online, with the UK and local health care teams holding weekly online meetings so they can continue improving knowledge and skills.

Over the past three years, the Scottish-based volunteers have helped to introduce new surgical techniques, including supporting Palestinian surgeons to develop a surgical technique commonly used in the UK to assess if cancer has spread to lymph glands through a limited axillary (armpit) operation, known as a ‘sentinel node biopsy’. The visiting medics have also helped to successfully implement multi-disciplinary team (MDT) working, where a patient with breast cancer is cared for and their case discussed by a team of healthcare professionals, each with their own expertise. This is a core component of cancer care in the UK and a way of working which the visiting medics have been demonstrating and promoting to local teams.

Construction work has now begun on the new specialist breast unit which MAP is funding in Rafedia Hospital to serve the north of the West Bank. We will be bringing you news of its opening in 2021.

MAP would like to thank the Scottish-based health workers for all their hard work and energy in helping to develop Palestinian breast cancer care and congratulates them for being finalists in this year’s Scottish Health Awards. 

For more information on breast cancer in the occupied Palestinian territory click here.

To read about how MAP’s projects support for women with breast cancer in the West Bank and Gaza, click here.

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