MAP supporting the next generation of Palestinian cancer nurses

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month continues in Palestine, this week Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) was delighted to launch our latest partnership with Bethlehem University (BU) to improve the quality of care for cancer patients in the West Bank.

With the support of MAP, Bethlehem University will offer a Higher Diploma course for nurses in oncology and palliative care, the first of its kind in the occupied Palestinian territory. The program will aim to increase the number of cancer nurses in the West Bank who have the specialized skills and knowledge needed to provide high-quality care to Palestinian patients with cancer. The program will train nurses who are accountable, use an evidence-based approach, make sound clinical judgments to improve the lives of patients, and help advance the science of cancer through participation in latest international scientific research and practice.

This initiative, which developed from the work of a nurse from Glasgow, also demonstrates growing medical links between Scotland and Palestine. Monday’s opening ceremony was attended by a delegation which included the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Ms Sadie Docherty. "I am proud to visit Bethlehem which fosters a spirit of friendship and cooperation, and to offer my full support to this vital project ", said Ms Docherty.

The ceremony opened with the national anthems of Palestine and Scotland, and included both Palestinian and Scottish musical, dance and poetry performances. In his welcoming speech the Vice President for Advancement at BU, Dr Stephen Tuohy, expressed deep gratitude to MAP and the Mayor of Glasgow for their support. 

MAP’s Director of Programmes in the West Bank, Mira al Mukarker, emphasized the importance of this diploma to meeting the urgent needs of Palestinian patients diagnosed with cancer. “We are proud to fund such a course, and are looking forward to supporting these new leaders and role models in cancer nursing practice in Palestine” she said.

We are looking forward to supporting these new leaders and role models in cancer nursing practice in Palestine

Ms Mariam Awad, Dean of the Nursing Department and Health Sciences, added that the launching of the Oncology Programme comes in what Pope Francis referred to as ‘the year of mercy’, explaining that this course embodies the values of compassion, humanity and love for all patients diagnosed with cancer and their families.

Ms Awad emphasised the importance of this initiative to the development of the public health sector, as nurses from the Palestinian Ministry of Health will join the course as well as receiving training in the King Hussein Cancer Center in Jordan. Cooperation with the NGO-run Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem will also see some of this hospital’s nurses and students join the programme. MAP’s partnership will also cover half of the course costs for the higher Diploma for all students. This will encourage more nurses to attend the course who are working at cancer units in ministry hospitals.

Dr. Amal Abu Awad from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, emphasised the Health Minister's endorsement of the diploma, and the Ministry's willingness to send more nurses to join the course in the next year.

Also in attendance at the ceremony were Dr. Amal Abu Awad from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the Deputy Mayor of Bethlehem Eng. Issam Juha, and a number of professors, staff and students at Bethlehem University.

To read more about the challenges faced by Palestinian breast cancer patients living under occupation, read our latest fact sheet here.

You can also support our cancer care work in Palestine by donating today.


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