08 October, 2017
BY: ROGIA AL-SHAFEE
KHARTOUM (SUDANOW) – Professor Hassan Abu Aisha Hamid has gained fame across the globe after touring numerous international universities and hospitals where he willingly offered his experience and published scientific research and papers until he was inaugurated pioneer of kidney treatment in Africa in 2017.
A strong wish for being a doctor to save the lives of sick people grew with him since he was a child when he saw his 20-year-old aunt pass away during a difficult birth-giving. At last this wish brought about the dexterous therapist and august scientist Professor Hassan Abu Aisha Hamid, the senior specialist in intestinal and renal diseases, Vice –Chancellor of the Mughtaribeen (Expatriates) University and former Minister of State for Health.
In an interview he kindly gave SUDANOW, Abu Aisha spoke about how he managed to make his way up the education ladder in a society that at that time regarded the school a shame that corrupted ethics.
He said he was born in 1943 in Galsa Village, south of Kassala City in East Sudan. He studied the Holy Koran and the principles of writing and reading at the village khalwah (Koranic school) under his grandfather who ran the khalwah. Abu Aisha recalled at that time it was by chance that his uncle Mohamed al-Amin Sherif was encouraged to go to school by Englishmen who visited the Khalwah and noticed that he was bright. The uncle was graduated at Gordon Memorial College and became a teacher and later on a supervisor of the schools in Kassala region and by that time Abu Aisha learned the Holy Koran by heart when his uncle took him and a number of children of the village from one school to another where he was transferred, and undertook the living and accommodation of the children in his own residence, Abu Aisha said.
He added that he was admitted in Kassala intermediate school and therefrom in Port Sudan Secondary School where he said his consciousness unfolded and his ambitions grew up and he was encouraged by his father to travel to Khartoum, despite fears by his mother who was convinced by her brother Sherif, to join the prestigious University of Khartoum. He said the grades he obtained in the secondary school examination qualified to enter the Medicine or Engineering faculty but the old dream of becoming a doctor to save the life of his aunt prevailed and he decided to enroll at the Faculty of Medicine.
After graduation, Abu Aisha said he decided to specialize in surgery but his teacher Professor Dawood Mustafa insisted on specialization in intestinal medicine because he was the top of his group of students and promised that he (Abu Aisha) would be appointed an associate teacher. He said he immediately agreed because he believed it was a great honor to serve as a teacher in that university. He said he began specialization in the internal diseases and moved around all hospitals in Khartoum and despite an opportunity to travel abroad for further studies or work like many of his colleagues, Abu Aisha said, decided to stay in Sudan to serve his people and his country.
Then he said he was granted a scholarship from the University of Khartoum to pursue studies in a British center specialized in internal and renal diseases along with his late colleague Salih Yassin. He found the center quite advanced and was supervised by a competent British doctor with whom Abu Aisha felt at home. He diligently continued studies in the renal diseases specialization and excelled in it and he returned home with a great experience that helped him in the kidney treatment to become the second specialist after Professor Abdul Rahman Mohamed Mussa and he established the Sudan’s first dialysis unit in Soba Hospital.
He said after his return from Britain, late Prof. Omar Bilail had specialized in surgery. Late Bilail, whom Abu Aisha described as unique, an unusual person with an extraordinary mental faculties, was dispatched by the University of Khartoum to Britain for specialization in brain and neurology but just two months before finishing this specialization, he contracted a kidney failure and had to undergo a kidney transplant. Bilail survived with the kidney that was donated by his brother and he wrote a book titled “Two Lives”.
Abu Aisha went on to say that late Bilail obtained permission from the University of Khartoum to change from neurology to renal surgery specialization. Prof. Bilail returned to Sudan as a skillful kidney surgeon and became famous across the Arab countries, said Prof. Abu Aisha, adding that upon hearing about him, a Saudi native came to Khartoum with a son suffering a kidney failure looking for Prof. Bilail. Abu Aisha recalled that Prof. Bilail asked him to supervise the treatment and diagnosis of the Saudi boy while he (Bilail) would carry out the surgical operation, according to the normal procedure that the kidney treatment specialist follows up the case before and after the surgical operation which is left to the surgeon. It was the first kidney transplant in Africa and the Arab world to be conducted in the Sudan in 1974 on an Arab patient by Sudanese specialists, Abu Aisha said.
He recalled that after the operation and while the patient was still in hospital, he (Abu Aisha) was arrested by the security of the government of then President Jaafer Nimeiry for his Islamic leanings and was taken to Cooper Prison in Khartoum North. “Prof. Bilail was brave enough to go to the Security and tell them that Abu Aisha ‘whom you put in jail is in charge of treating a foreign patient who came here for treatment and nobody other than Abu Aisha can look after him and if you keep him in prison, the patient will die and you will be responsible for that’ and the Security had to release me immediately for resuming the treatment of the patient,” said Prof. Abu Aisha.
Prof. Abu Aisha left in 1976 for Saudi Arabia to serve in the Saudi Ministry of Health as an expert and he managed to establish units of renal treatment in hospitals there before returning home with more experience in that country. Moreover, he took part in numerous medical and scientific conferences in Europe, Asia, America and Africa in which he presented scientific research papers. This was in addition to efforts that he and his colleagues and students exerted for establishing the kidney treatment and developing centers, qualifying the Sudan for winning in 2017 the award of the renal treatment vanguard in Africa offered by the international renal medicine association. This international rating was based on a number of works, including Prof. Abu Aisha’s numerous scientific research contributions to serve the mankind in addition to his capability of transmitting his knowledge and experience to his students in a simple way.
Prof. Abu Aisha has been honored by several institutions, including the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Karary and Azhary universities and the Sudanese Universities Union.
Prof. Abu Aisha noted that the Sudanese doctor shows distinction both at home and abroad but is in need of a little care by the responsible officials with regards to raising the salaries, improving the work environment and training of the auxiliary personnel. More than 12 kidney specialists are graduated each year in the Sudan and they travel for work in foreign hospitals but they return to the Sudan to contribute with their experience in serving their country, Abu Aisha said.
He added that there are doctors, like Babikir Jabir Kubullo who have never sought work abroad and preferred to stay at home and others, like Dr. Omar Ibrahim Aboud, Dr. Al-Fadil Mohamed Osman and others, who returned and contributed to promoting and establishing medical treatment in Sudan.
As for the renal diseases, Prof. Abu Aisha descried as very grave the rate of infection with the latest count showing that there are 250 patients out of each million infected with this disease, which means an increase of 7,000 patients each year and it is expected that the number of kidney patients would reach 14,000 by 2020. For this reason, he went on, they conducted a study for the treatment and for minimizing new cases by fighting the causes so that the number would not double.
The Professor said the main causes of catching the disease which must be fought immediately are cigarettes and tombak (local smokeless tobacco dipped in the mouth) describing the latter as the most dangerous for which the state and media should join hands to fight its growing in Darfur by finding alternative agricultural projects.
He added that canned food and other foods, like processed potatoes for children also constitute causes for the renal disease and must be fought. Developed countries, like Britain, have enacted resolutions banning canned foods in schools and substituting them with halal (permissible) foods which he said are safe, even for non-Muslims to keep the children healthy.
Aside from the medicine and renal diseases, Prof. Abu Aisha is a poet, a writer and literate, raising a question of how a person can bring science and literature together, probably due to the east and the countryside environment. He said he was brought up in a literary family that loves poetry and literature, both his parents were poets and he had numerous attempts to poetry.
The Prof. said he likes writing and Arab literature and he was lucky enough that during his 27 years of service in Saudi Arabia he found literary persons, including Syrian Mohamed Lofty al-Sabbagh, who helped him refine his Arabic language.
Abu Aisha said he wrote a number of books, including one on the homes of legendary beautiful girl Ablah and her lover poet-hero Anter. He said while he was in Saudi Arabia, he visited those places where the two legendary lovers lived and he wrote a story on them in a new form. Besides a number of other books, including on Arabic grammar, and a number of poems, Abu Aisha said he rewrote and published a book by his uncle Mohamed al-Amin Sherif on the history of Kassala and east Sudan.