Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa is the founder and Executive Director of Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab, pursuing artificial intelligence in medicine. The 24-year old social entrepreneur from Uganda, who is the mastermind behind a popular cancer screening app that is helping thousands of women in various countries throughout Africa. A cancer survivor herself, her company offers innovative artificial intelligence-guided E-Oncology services to diagnose cervical and breast cancer. Both of these types of cancers, if detected and treated early, can save a person’s life. Her company Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab was founded out of both passion and personal experience.
When she was 13, she lost her mother to cervical cancer. Kaliisa’s mother had one last wish. “She called for me from school and when I reached the Uganda Cancer Institute, my mother told me ‘my daughter, study hard and become a doctor and look for a way to extend services to women like your mother who lacked key screening services in our villages’,” Kaliisa recounts. Those last words sank in and the young Kaliisa vowed to fulfill her mother’s dream. But things took a different turn. During her second year pursuing a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery, she felt an unusual pain in one of her breasts and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily, it was still in its early stages and she was treated.
These experiences led to her founding a company in 2017 to offer mobile cancer screening, which later incorporated the use of artificial intelligence guided e-oncology services (to detect cervical and breast cancer).
Today, her company also incorporates drone services for easier transportation of cervical cancer specimens from the rural areas to laboratories without women having to travel long distances out of the villages. Kaliisa, who locals refer to as “mama cancer”, is a winner of the Takeda Young Entrepreneur Award 2018, Young African Entrepreneur Award 2018, Social Impact Finalist AWIEF Awards 2018, has received an Honourable Mention at the Maathai Impact Award 2019, and was chosen among the top 10 artificial intelligence companies founded in Africa by Google for start-ups. She has also been endorsed by the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Kaliisa continues to make strides in the field of cancer screening.