Mukatimui Kalima-Munalula
Women and Newborn Hospital 
Lusaka, Zambia
Fellow of the IGCS Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program

Where did you complete your training? Or tell us about your background in gyn oncology.
I was accepted into the IGCS program in 2018.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in gyn oncology or what about it interested you?
I trained as an obstetrician/gynecologist and was initially looking forward to working as an obstetrician. However, whenever I worked on the gynecology wards I noticed that few of us as doctors were interested in working with women that have gynecologic problems. Gynecologic cancers were especially not “popular.” They appeared to be the “ugly sisters” in the Cinderella story. Therefore, I was drawn to gyn oncology because I felt that if I can make a difference in one woman’s life it would be very satisfying. When I joined the fellowship, I realized that it was possible to make the difference in many women’s lives.

Tell us about your work in women’s cancer: daily activities and/or special projects.
My biggest satisfaction comes from looking after women who have had disfiguring vulvar disease, which has been removed by surgery, and seeing the renewed self-confidence they have.

What is the most rewarding part of your career?
One of the most rewarding parts of my career is being able to offer women–especially with vulvar disease—a way of managing their sometimes-disfiguring lesions.

What is the most beneficial resource or equipment you have access to at your training site?
The most beneficial resource at my training site is that we have developed an MDT that manages patients with gynae cancers. Initially patients would be referred to the cancer disease hospital without any means of following up on their care. With the MDT, we are able to engage various staff members in the holistic care of our patients and appropriately plan their care from diagnosis to surgery, and chemo radiation and follow up.

What is one of the biggest challenges in gyn cancer care in your region? What resources are lacking?
The biggest challenge we have is that we have only one cancer care center in our country for over 17 million people. We only have one radiation machine, CT scan, and MRI scan. We also sometimes run out of chemotherapeutic drugs, and therefore, out-patients’ treatment is interrupted.

How long have you been a member and how did you become involved with IGCS?
I have been a member since September 2019– after I became a fellow.

Do you have any hobbies or is there an interesting fact about your life that you’d like to share?
I love to run. I’ve done 5 half marathons in the past 3 years. I was planning to run my first marathon later this year, but COVID-19 happened.

What is a unique or fun fact about your country or community culture?
Our country has one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, Victoria Falls, which is located in the southern part of Zambia. It is one of the many falls that are in our country.

Does your country/region have a traditional food or drink? Do you like it?
One of the regions in our country has a traditional food made of maize and groundnuts. I absolutely love eating it!