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OCA continues its role during the pandemic


The Oman Cancer Association (OCA) is continuing its activities even during the pandemic with all possible safeguards. To make it more dynamic, it has created a director’s position.

For the first time in 21 years, Oman Cancer Association has created a director’s position. The first person to be assigned the job is Faiqa bint Ali al Sinawiyah who assumed office on May 1.

She will report directly to the Board of Directors, assigned as per the elections held on March 31. She brings with her 28 years of experience at the Ministry of Health.

The responsibilities of the director will include supervision of the Association’s flagship initiatives: The Mobile Mammography Unit (MMU) and Dar Al Hanan (DH), as well as tracking policy implementation across the sectors OCA engages in, in close coordination with the relevant government authorities, sponsors and partners, as well as management of all programmes and projects underway and forecast for the next five years.

Speaking to the Observer in the programme note, Al Sinawiyah explained her dream for the OCA and said, “I hope to see the OCA at the international level, serving cancer patients, and have proper funding. Now our fund comes mainly from fundraising events, companies and vendors. I hope to see regular funds or have our budget to support our patients and projects.”

One of our projects is Dar Al Hanan, a home away from home, where we host children from outside Muscat who come for treatment. It serves the residents staying in Oman as well. Our Mammogram units go around the country twice a year aimed at women above 40 years of age, and they receive reports within 48 hours. If everything is normal, we call them and congratulate them on telling them they are well. Still, if there are any doubts, we request them to come to our centre for the ultrasound because it is here at the centre. If there is any problem, we arrange an appointment at the hospital. We have also held training for palliative care for 360 nurses from around the country.”

Although the pandemic has restricted movements, the OCA has successfully conducted at least two awareness events online every month.

“Before Covid-19, we used to go to the universities, community and schools to educate people about cancer and spread awareness on prevention. Since Covid-19, we are conducting awareness through social media,” she said.

The pandemic has brought in operational changes in Dar Al Hanan.

“The manner of admission has seen a change. Like any other institution, we have taken precautions, and we have to go through policies announced by the Minister of Health. So we maintain social distancing, washing of hands and using sanitisers throughout the centre. We have been educating the mothers who come to Dar Al Hanan. The hospitals are not admitting people like they used to do before, so they are also not staying with us for a longer period as they used to do previously. The mammogram is also testing fewer people currently. In the past, we used to take a walk-in appointment, but now we are restricted to appointments and take all precautions,” explained Faiqa, who has her Masters Degree in Nursing from Queen Margaret University, UK.

Faiqa has been affiliated with OCA since 2011 and was a member of the board for five years (2016-2021). Her training in active healthcare deliverance service has covered Oman, Jordan, Bahrain and the United Kingdom. She has extensive nursing, administration, and planning experience in several regions across the Sultanate, with the last position as the Director of the School and University Health for Oman at the Ministry of Health.

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