Houriya Kazim, BSc, MPH, MB BCh, FRCS, has spent the past 17 years campaigning to eradicate breast cancer in her native country, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.).
After attending medical school in Ireland, the young doctor returned to the U.A.E. to intern at a government hospital in Dubai. There, she began treating women with the most advanced breast cancer tumors she had ever seen—even in medical textbooks. Superstition, fear, lack of knowledge and, mainly modesty, prevented many Emirati women from seeking treatment from the country’s predominantly male medical establishment. In fact, at the time, there were no female surgeons in the U.A.E.
Dr. Kazim resolved to change that. She pursued further training in general surgery and surgical oncology at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. She returned to the U.A.E. as its first female surgeon. Motivated by what she had seen during her internship, she created an ambitious outreach program to educate women about breast cancer, teach them about breast self-examination, and offer treatment advice and options.
In 2006, she opened the country’s first Well Woman Clinic staffed exclusively by women for all women’s healthcare needs. She also established “Brest Friends,” a charity organization which includes the first breast cancer support group in Dubai. Brest Friends recently partnered with the Al Jalila Foundation, a non-governmental organization established by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the U.A.E. and ruler of Dubai. Their joint mission is to promote early detection, facilitate medical treatment, provide academic scholarships, fund groundbreaking research, champion healthcare awareness programs, and foster a culture of excellence in medical education and research in the U.A.E.
Dr. Kazim recently received the Arab Woman Awards for Medicine and was nominated for the U.S. Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage. Her culturally sensitive and myth-dispelling approach has drastically reduced the number of advanced cancers in the U.A.E.
Dr. Houriya Kazim has dedicated her career to reducing breast cancer rates in the U.A.E. Story told by Jordan Rich of The Jordan Rich Show on WBZ NewsRadio 1030. Visit www.theonehundred.org to learn more and meet the rest of our honorees.