First Palestinian International Nursing Conference in Oncology and Palliative Care

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)’s Oncology and Palliative Care Programme in the occupied Palestinian territory took another step forward this month, with the holding of the first Palestinian International Nursing Conference in Oncology and Palliative Care hosted by Bethlehem University (BU) on 4 December.

This conference aimed to offer an opportunity for nurses from Palestine and beyond to present their research on the topics of oncology and palliative care, and to network and share knowledge and experience with their peers.

Ms. Mariam Awad, the Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences at BU delivered a welcoming speech, telling the conference that cancer is the second leading cause of death in Palestine following cardiovascular disease. She emphasised the importance of having trained specialist nurses in oncology as there is currently a shortage of these skills in Palestine.

Br. Peter Bray, BU Vice Chancellor, said that the conference had brought people from different places together to discuss an important issue in Palestine, welcoming this collaboration between the Ministry of Health (MoH), BU and MAP.

Dr. Asaad Ramlawi, Deputy Minister of Health, discussed the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Palestine, and highlighted the MoH’s support for this project in line with its strategy of tackling NCDs.

Mrs. Lina Qutob, Senior Programme Officer at MAP delivered a speech on behalf of Dr Aimee Shalan, MAP’s CEO, in which she thanked the partners of this project. She emphasised the importance of continuing to support the development of oncology and palliative care nursing in order to support patients to live with and beyond cancer, or to die peacefully and with dignity.

During the conference, ten papers were presented from the United Kingdom, Jordan, BU, Arab American University in Jenin, Jaffa Academic College and Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem. The research papers included cancer nurse education; the cost effectiveness of palliative care for cancer in Palestine; the MoH strategies in regards to cancer and palliative care; truth-telling and its role in palliative care; and the knowledge of palliative care among undergraduate nursing students in Palestine.

MAP would like to thank BU for organising such a conference, especially Ms. Mariam Awad and Ms. Manar Al-Ali from the faculty of nursing and health sciences at the university for their continuous efforts in improving the learning and practice of oncology and palliative care in Palestine.