Kenyan breast surgeon to head regional cancer body


Aga Khan University Hospital Consultant Breast Surgeon and Oncologist Dr Miriam Mutebi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Miriam Mutebi, the first female breast surgeon in Kenya, has been elected to lead the largest continental organisation that specialises in the promotion of cancer care and control.

She is the president-elect of the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC), a Pan-African, multi-disciplinary organisation that builds capacity for cancer advocacy, research, and training in Africa.

Dr Mutebi, who is a breast surgical oncologist at Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), will serve a four-year term, two as president-elect and the rest as president.

After receiving the news on her election as president, Dr Mutebi could not hide his joy.

“I am deeply honoured to be elected by fellow oncology healthcare workers from across Africa, to lead the advocacy and research work on cancer. It is a wonderful time for cancer control in Africa,” she said.

“Through AORTIC and other initiatives, we now have a dedicated, enthusiastic, continental workforce along the entire cancer continuum.”

She outlined her plans moving forward: “I intend to help us leverage our collective strengths and connections to innovate and develop collaborative, region-appropriate, evidence-based, data-driven solutions that help us improve journeys for cancer patients in Africa and to address current gaps.”

The cancer expert has been involved in extensive research and in 2019 alongside Dr Radovan Boca also from AKUH, Dr Mutebi pioneered the introduction of, 'Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator' (DIEP) flap in East Africa.

The procedure involves harvesting body tissue from a breast cancer patient who has had mastectomy (surgery to remove all breast tissue from a breast as a way to treat or prevent breast cancer), and making a new breast for them, offering hope to breast cancer survivors.