Fellow Since 2006
This profile was prepared when Mohamed Shaalan was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Mohamed is changing the perceptions about breast cancer to eliminate the barriers that impede breast cancer detection, education and care. His aim is to create and institutionalize a culture that equips women with knowledge and empowers patients with confidence and self-respect. He is correcting the myths, misconceptions, taboos, and stigmas surrounding breast cancer, commonly known in Egypt as the "bad disease." A master organizer, he is bringing citizenship to patients with breast cancer and face systematic discrimination as a result of ignorance on the part of society, doctors, nurses, and the government. He is creating institutions to document the problems and provide information, counsel, subsidized screenings, and post-operative care. In addition, he is creating an advocacy committee whose members are patients, doctors, celebrities, and decision makers who will lobby for the creation of a governmental body to secure quality medical care. This body is responsible for accrediting breast-related health services and facilities, monitoring doctors' diagnoses and operations and reporting professional misconduct and malpractice to the national Doctors' Syndicate. It will also lobby for comprehensive medical care for breast cancer, including coverage by medical insurance. While focused on breast cancer, Mohamed’s efforts are strengthening the health care delivery system in Egypt, and raising awareness of patients’ rights.