Gulnara Kunirova

Gulnara Kunirova

Gulnara Kunirova is a psychologist and palliative care champion living in Almaty, Kazakhstan. 

Her interest in palliative care developed after she was hired as Executive Director of the Together Against Cancer foundation in 2009. Together Against Cancer is a nongovernmental, notprofit organization working to improving cancer care in Kazakhstan, from prevention to rehabilitation and palliative care. In her role as Executive Director, she implemented more than 300 projects: raising public awareness, fundraising and charity events, education and training for cancer care specialists, government outreach and patient advocacy, cancer screening and research advancement. Today, the foundation has developed into the most successful anti-cancer organization in Kazakhstan, and is a member of the international Union for International Cancer Control. 

In 2013, she cofounded and was elected as president of the Kazakhstan Palliative Care Association, which focuses on advocating for palliative care as the human right and a core component of the health care system. The association has initiated educational and training programs; it also disseminates palliative care philosophy and knowledge at all levels of society, participates in the improvement of the legal framework for palliative care development, implements and supports in-home palliative care projects, introduces best practices of clinical and hospice care, gathers independent data on available resources and access to opioids and palliative care services, and has expanded the palliative care volunteer movement. 

Ms. Kunirova is a member of the Public Council of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Independent Director of the Kazakh Institute of Oncology and Radiology, Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Almaty City Center for Palliative Care, and leader of the Working Group on the “Road Map for the Development of Palliative Care in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2018-2020.” Under her leadership, the Working Group has developed an updated roadmap for 2022-2024 and, a first in Kazakhstan, a “Road Map for the Development of Children’s Palliative Care in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2022-2024.”

In 2022, she was appointed Chief External Expert on palliative care by the Minister of Health. 

Ms. Kunirova joined the IAHPC as a member in 2015, and guided the Kazakhstan Palliative Care Association to membership in 2021. She is also a member the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance and the European Association for Palliative Care. She is a certified trainer via the End-of-life Nursing Education Consortium.