Dr. Ibtihal Fadhil

Founder & Chair of the EM-NCDA

Dr. Khalid Al Saleh

Co-Chair, EM-NCDA , General Secretary Gulf Federation for Cancer Control

Dr. Layth Mula Hussain

Assistant Prof in Radiation oncology , Dalhousie University, Canada

Ahmed Mohamed Badheeb

Professor of Oncology & Internal Medicine, Yemen

Dr Asmus Hammerich

Director UHC/Noncommunicable Diseases & Mental Health (NMH), WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO)

Dr Lamia Mahmoud

Regional Adviser, Noncommunicable Diseases Prevention (NCP) UHC/Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health (NMH), World Health Organization, Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean

Dr. Nahla Gafar

Palliative Care Consultant , Sudan

Dr. Noreen Zafar

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Doctors Hospital & Medical Centre, Mid City Hospital , Founder & President Girls and Women's Health Initiative, Member expert roster for global strategy against cervical cancer, WHO, EMRO

Dr. Eman Sbaity

Surgical Oncology, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Dr. Pierre Anhoury

Special Adviser, Ministry of Health, Lebanon

Mrs Nisreen Qatamish

Special Adviser, Ministry of Health, Lebanon

Dr. Imad Treish

Chief Strategy Officer for the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC)

London Global Cancer Week Session Wednesday, 15 Nov 23

14:00-16:00 UK time https://www.lgcw.org.uk/

EM-NCDA Session Title Bridging the Gap: Enhancing Cancer Care for Universal Health Coverage in the Eastern Mediterranean Region


Cancer remains a substantial global health challenge, with a particularly profound impact on the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). Despite advancements in cancer research and treatment, many countries in the region still struggle with providing access to high-quality cancer care. The pervasive inequality in cancer services stands out as a major challenge across most countries, resulting in disparity of services and limited accessibility to cancer care.

In the pursuit of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the inclusion of cancer care in the benefit packages is an essential and pivotal step towards ensuring that all individuals can obtain crucial cancer services without enduring financial hardship. UHC revolves around three pivotal dimensions: access to health services, safeguarding individuals from financial risks, and maintaining high-quality services. Its fundamental goal is to ensure that everyone requiring healthcare services can access them without encountering financial adversity. Nonetheless, approximately half of the population in our region still lacks access to essential healthcare services, including cancer care due to war, conflicts, and political instability. 

The financial burden associated with cancer treatment frequently drives families to the brink of financial ruin. This underscores the immediate necessity for the integration of cancer services into universal health coverage programs. However, it’s not solely a matter of cost; it’s also about inclusivity and dismantling the barriers that prevent marginalized communities from accessing care.

The objective of this session is to tackle the imperative need for the incorporation of cancer services into UHC benefit packages, which will enhance cancer care and mitigate disparities, ensuring that no one is left behind.


1. Create a platform for addressing the urgent requirements of enhancing cancer care and realizing Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

2. Explore and deliberate on the challenges and impediments hindering the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for cancer care.

3. Exchange insights into effective strategies and best practices for advancing cancer care and achieving UHC.

4. Cultivate cooperation among participants and formulate practical recommendations to support transformations in the delivery of cancer care within the EMR.


Conclusion: This session will provide a platform to address the pressing need for improved cancer care and the achievement of UHC in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. By bringing together experts, policymakers, and stakeholders, the session aims to foster collaboration, share best practices, and develop actionable recommendations that can catalyze positive change in cancer care delivery. Through collective efforts, we can bridge the gap and ensure that all individuals in the region have equitable access to quality cancer care, leading to improved health outcomes and enhanced overall well-being