COUNTRY DOCTOR

Jordan 2019 | HEALTH | INTERVIEW

The KHCF is putting charitable partnerships to good use and expanding access to cancer care across the region.

Nisreen Qatamish Kharabsheh
BIOGRAPHY
In 2016, Nisreen Qatamish Kharabsheh was appointed Director General of KHCF, the largest community-based organization in Jordan dedicated to combating cancer. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing KHCF’s fundraising and development efforts, driving global advocacy programs, raising public awareness on early detection and prevention, as well as cancer coverage and patient support. As Jordan Breast Cancer Program’s Director, Qatamish devised and implemented a five-year strategy for fighting breast cancer through intensive local advocacy efforts, awareness campaigns, and community outreach programs. Qatamish is further known as a leading promoter and advocate for gender equality, tobacco control, and cancer prevention and early detection.

What have been the main achievements of the foundation?

Our organization is 17 years old with the main purpose of providing the best care for cancer patients across the Arab world. There is no other comprehensive, stand-alone cancer center available for patients in our part of the world providing medical, psychosocial, and financial support. To do so, we went through a scientific, evidence-based process starting from the inception phase, where we learned from international best practices through partnerships with world leaders in cancer and oncology care. This was one of the main pillars of success. The second big success was investing in our human resources, specifically in our consultants, oncologists, and service providers. During the inception phase, we also reversed the brain drain and attracted Jordanian and Arab healthcare providers working in the US and Europe to return and serve the country and patients here. The third important pillar of our success is investing in strong leadership for both the center and the foundation and having an enabling political environment. Along with the chairperson HRH Princess Ghida Talal, the board members are implementing the vision and directing our strategy. The fourth element of success is the humanitarian aspect of our work. From the first day the center was established, it had one mission: to save the lives of cancer patients regardless of their financial situation. We receive all patients living in Jordan, including Jordanians, non-Jordanians, and refugees and other displaced persons.

What are your key current partnerships, and what is your strategy to expand partnerships?

We have different types of partnerships. We are proud to have international strategic medical partnerships with St. Jude, MD Anderson, and other top-notch centers across the globe. These medical partnerships are truly translated into exchanges of experience at all levels. In terms of fundraising, we work at all levels and locally have partners at the individual and corporate levels. Some corporations support the development of our facilities, while others support our goodwill funds or sponsor our events and campaigns. In Jordan, we have partnerships at all levels, from the community to corporations and government. At the regional level, we have solid partnerships with individuals, organizations, and authorities. Our top supporters are the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. For example, we received USD25 million from Abu Dhabi Development Fund for equipment and machinery for the new buildings. Another example is a grant of USD50 million from Saudi Development Fund also for the new buildings, machinery, and other infrastructure. We also consider USAID one of our biggest supporters because of its seed donation of USD25 million for our expansion.

What other efforts or developments is KHCF working on?

We are committed to providing the best care for cancer patients, and we will continue to enhance our capability in terms of infrastructure, equipment, and machinery and invest more in our human resource capabilities. In terms of building capacities, KHCF plays a major role not only for the center but also across the health sector in Jordan and the region. One of our priorities is promoting the training and education center, and part of the agreement with the Iraqi government is for patient referral and exchange of experience, knowledge, and skills that we have built throughout the years. We are building the capacity of its human resources with hands-on training for Iraqi doctors and nurses at the center. Spreading the experience that we have built throughout the years across the region is extremely important.