Prof EL Hassan

 “I was born in Berber on 10/4/1930. After the Khalwa, I was admitted to the elementary school, the only one in the town and surrounding villages. After four years, I Joined the elementary school, which was one of two schools in the whole of the Northern Province. The competition was tough. My secondary education was at Wadi Seyedna secondary school. Wadi Seyedna and Hantoub were the only government schools in Sudan. We were given first-class education by well-qualified teachers. The library was full of excellent books and magazines. I read many of the classics in Arabic and English. These included books by Taha Hussein, EL Manfalouty, Zaky Mubarak, EL Mazny, Abu EL Farag EL Asfahany, Dickens, HG Wells, Sir Walter Scott; Alfred Tennyson; Shakespeare and others.

Two magazines, EL Risala and EL Thakafa, edited by Ahmed Hassan EL Zayat and Ahmed Amin, were of particular interest to me. I was particularly fond of EL Risala. It had some of the greatest writers in the Arab world: Taha Hussein, EL Mazny, Zaky Mubarak, Ali EL Tantawy, EL Nashashiby, Ahmed Zaky and many others. In addition to literary topics, EL Risala had a special section for science. Abdullah Ashry EL Siddig, a known Sudanese scientist who graduated from the American University of Beirut, was a contributor to EL Risala. Of particular interest to me was psychology. I developed an interest in the subject when I was 12 years of age. I joined a distance learning course in psychology in Cairo run by Dr Mohamed Fayik EL Gawhary of Sakakeeny Pasha Street. Ever since, I became hooked on the subject and read most of Jung’s work who, I think is one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century.

I graduated from Kitchener School of Medicine in 1955 with distinction and prizes in Medicine and Surgery. I was awarded the Kitchener Memorial Prize. After serving as a house and medical officer with the Ministry of Health, I joined the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Khartoum as a Teaching Assistant in Pathology in April 1957. I went to Britain, where I obtained my degrees from the Universities of London and Edinburgh and the Royal Societies of Pathologists and Physicians.

In 1962 I was appointed lecturer in pathology at the Faculty of Medicine and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1965 and Professor in 1966. I was the first Sudanese Professor and Chairman of the Department Of Pathology. The department was engaged in teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as research activities. We were serving the three towns in clinical pathology. Histopathology services were rendered to the three towns and major cities in the provinces. Several Sudanese teaching assistants were trained in England and are now full professors.

I became Dean of the Faculty of Medicine between 1969 and 1971. During this time, the number of students doubled from 60 to 120. I was Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Khartoum for a short time. I was then called upon to establish the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. With the help of many academicians, we were able to maintain the indolence of the universities since the fear was that a Ministry in the wrong hands would adversely affect the independence that the universities enjoyed. During my term of office as a Minister, it was possible to introduce some reforms in technical education e.g. reinstating the Islamic University, which had been downgraded to a College.

The independence of the National Council of Research was assured, and its institutions were evaluated. Several changes in the managerial and academic manpower of the NCR were made. Some senior staff who were appointed on political grounds were dismissed or appointed elsewhere in positions in keeping with their qualifications and expertise. Some colleges were run by unqualified and corrupt individuals. These were promptly dealt with. Unfortunately, after I left the Ministry, many were reinstated!

As a Chairman of the Medical Research Council (NRC), I helped with others to establish the Institute for Tropical Diseases Research at the NCR with its two parts: the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Omdurman and the laboratory in Khartoum. Several researchers were recruited and sent for training in tropical medicine, pathology, epidemiology and parasitology in Britain.

In 1966 in collaboration with the Sudan Ministry of Health, an Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology was established. Its graduates are now manning the diagnostic and research laboratories in Sudan and the Arab countries. Many have obtained MSc and PhD degrees in technology from reputable local and foreign universities. Two are now a full Professor

With the late Prof. Sayed Daoud, I established the Sudanese Cancer registry in the mid-1960s.

I was honoured to establish the Department of Pathology, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, King Faisal University. I was also the Director of Research and Translations. When I left after nine years, the department had thirteen staff including three Saudis qualified in pathology. A full-fledged department of pathology was established in the King Fahad Hospital of the University. A postgraduate degree in Clinical Pathology and another in Histopathology were established. The College of Medicine competed with other universities in the Kingdom for research grants from King Abdel Aziz City for Science and Technology. We won a grant of ten million Saudi Riyals and worked on cutaneous leishmaniasis for three years in the Eastern State of the Kingdom. The parasite and animal reservoir were identified, and the disease's epidemiology, clinical features and management were determined. Several papers were published in international journals.

In 1993 along with other colleagues, I established the Institute of Endemic Diseases at the University of Khartoum and was its Director. The objectives of the Institute are to undertake research in endemic diseases, to train medical and paramedical staff and to offer specialised services in endemic diseases. The main research areas are leishmaniasis, malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, mycetoma and genetic diversity in relation to disease. Molecular biology and immunology departments were established for the first time in the country. Many students obtained their MSc and PhD degrees from the Institute. They helped establish and run other research institutions and colleges


Prof. EL Hassan was an
Emeritus Professor of Pathology
University of Khartoum