The Middle East is as progressive as any other emerging market in the world today. It has seen rapid development and is constantly on the go for bigger achievements. While modernization has changed its landscape, many values still remain unchanged. Being predominantly Muslim, many aspects of living are deeply rooted in the Islamic faith which is also entwined with the Arab culture. Therefore, many subjects and issues are still discussed behind closed doors, and in some cases, not discussed at all.
Approximately 15.9% of all cancer cases among men and women in the UAE is breast cancer, yet many of those affected by it do not speak, discuss, let alone seek medical help. It’s even considered inappropriate to mention the word “breast” so that it is referred to as “chest cancer”. As a result, the region has a very high rate of late presentation. From a statistical point-of-view, 98% of those with breast cancer will survive if the cancer is detected early.
Medcare Women & Children Hospital championed the initiative to raise awareness of the importance of breast checks amongst local and Arab women, bearing in mind the sensitivity and taboo that surrounds the subject.
The core idea was to effectively reach these women in an engaging way yet remain discreet enough to the cultural and religious sensitivity. To do this, Medcare took the bold move to communicate to the targeted Muslim women, one-on-one, at a place that is reserved for them: women’s prayer halls in mosques.
Utilising a simple pebble stamped with the message, it was discreetly placed inside the shoes of these women when they went for prayers. Upon returning after prayers, they would ‘discover’ the pebble as soon as they put their shoes on. This was the key objective of the idea: If women responded immediately to the ‘lump’ found in their shoes, they should do the same, and as quickly, for lumps found on their breast.