24-year-old Nabuuma Shamim Kaliisa, watched her mom pass away from complications arising from cervical cancer. The pain fanned her curiosity to investigate possibilities of helping women going through the same experience. In 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The psychological ordeal she had to undergo further fueled her resolve to help women with cancer.
Following her battle with Cancer, Nabuuma created an Artificial Intelligence powered mobile application to help improve cancer advocacy and strengthen its prevention, detection and treatment in 2016. Nabuuma envisions a world where ”nobody dies of any reproductive health related cancer caused by late detection and treatment.”
Through her company, she has helped over a 100,000 women detect cancer early and through partners funding, helped them with treatment.
An experienced health enthusiast, Nabuuma has extensive experience and training in Health Projects Management and Project Monitoring and Evaluation. She is an alumni of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, a Takeda Young Entrepreneur Award winner 2018, Winner of the African Young Entrepreneur 2018 and Winner of AWIEF Social Impact Award Winner 2018. She has also participated in the Google for startup Asia Pitch Drive.
Nabuuma shares the challenges and milestones of her journey so far with Leading Ladies Africa.
Cancer is something that every person fears, when the doctors started telling me this is not the end of the world, I automatically knew I had cancer and immediately I started crying. This was not because I feared death but I feared that pain I saw my mother pass through when she was battling cervical cancer. At the end of the day, I accepted the result and lucky enough I was told it was still in its early stages and that it was to be treated.
Founding Chil AI Lab
Supporting women with cancer started a long time when I was still a young girl. Whenever I remember that my mother died crying of the pain, it pushed me to work so hard to help women though my target then was to create a platform to help women get early screening.
Understanding the pain women with cancer go through having experienced same myself was the final push that made me resolve to do something. I also realized that a lot of women did not have the funds to get screened. Hence, I decided to fill that gap through Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab.
CAI is an Oncology Artificial Intelligence Company that helps women with affordable, reliable, easy to use E-Oncology services like consultation, medicine, prescription and delivery, referral and patient follow up using an AI powered mobile application. Women have taken up the automated services and it gives me joy seeing many women globally use the application.
Challenges Running the Organization
My biggest challenge is opposition from Doctors who used to over charge customers for services like consultation, referral, laboratory results interpretation among others. They consider the app as a threat to their businesses.
Being a woman in a male-dominated industry and access to capital has also been a thing.
Milestone Achieved So Far
We have moved from 0 to now over 150,000 women using the CAI app. That for me is my biggest milestone so far.
Words of Advice
Many African women actually still think somethings and businesses are meant for men. This is a very wrong ideology. More women need to come into a full awareness of who they are and not let their gender get in the way of their dreams.
Also, breast cancer and cancers generally are not for a given class of people. Everyone is a candidate so regular checkup is very Important. I also tell everyone especially women led companies to look at including breast cancer advocacy as priority in their list of activities.
Conclusively, it is possible for us to make it ,just like its possible for cancer to be history.
Follow Nabuuma Shamim Kaliisa
The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series that focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa; an initiative that seeks to effectively mentor and inspire women, with particular emphasis on the African continent.
Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we just might feature her.