Egypt mourns the passing of Anissa Hassouna, a former member of Parliament and Executive Director at the Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation.
Hassouna died after a battle with cancer on 13 March at the age of 69.
Hassouna was a graduate of Political Science and Economics from Cairo University. After spending the beginning of her career working in Misr-Iran Development Bank, she joined the Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation as their executive director.
During her time at the foundation, Hassouna facilitated its establishment as the leading medical foundation for cardiac treatment in Egypt all while providing free of charge medical services. Her success and impact during her post landed her among the World’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women by Arabian Business Magazine.
By 2016, Hassouna was appointed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to a newly-formed Egyptian Parliament. As a member of Parliament, Hassouna played a significant role in advocating for human rights laws. She raised concerns regarding women’s rights and opportunities, children’s rights, and environmental law. ً
When advocating for free playgrounds for children, she stated “I want children to be happy. I have made a request to parliament to task district heads to create children playgrounds in every district with basic, free plastic toys”.
In 2017, she published her best-selling memoir Bedoon Sabeq Enzar (Without Prior Warning) in which she announced her battle with cancer. The book was an inspiration to cancer patients, particularly women, in finding motivation and self-love despite struggling with health and changes in appearance. She would spend her remaining years continuing to raise human rights issues in parliament while serving as a source of strength for cancer patients as she balanced life with the disease.
Hassouna served as a role model to the Egyptian society, particularly politicians, activists, and cancer patients.
She is survived by her husband, Sherif Nagy, and her two daughters.
Her funeral is planned for Monday, 14 March at Al-Sayyida Nafeesah Mosque, after the noon prayer.