A Brief History of Urology in EGYPT

By Hussein A. Amin, M.D., FACS.
Former Chairman of Urology Department Benha University

When Nitze invented the cystoscope in 1907, he opened the way to the gradual separation of Urology as a Specialty from General Surgery throughout the civilized world, including Egypt.
Between 1930 and 1940 The Specialty of Urology in Egypt developed separately in two main centers, first Alexandria and then Cairo.

In 1934 an immigrant Russian surgeon, Jacob Bitchai settled in Alexandria and started cystoscopic procedures in the Moassat Charity Hospital. In 1945 he got the lucky chance of treating the Prime Minister of Egypt for urine retention. The case proved to be a prostatic abscess which got drained once the instrument was passed in. The relief was dramatic for the patient, as well as for the surgeon, who was appointed as Visiting Professor of Urology in the newly inaugurated King Farouk (Alexandria) University.

Prof. Abdel-Rahman El-Sadr and Prof. Mohamed El-Ghorab were the first Egyptian Surgeons to specialize in Urology from Alexandria between 1947 and 1950. They were followed by brilliant generations; of whom we specify Prof. Emil Tanagho, (who later immigrated to the USA and became a world-famous authority), and Prof. Mostafa El-Refai.

The Alexandria Urology Dept. had a single "descendant"; and that was the Tanta University Urology Dept. It was headed by Prof. Farouk Hammoud, and later Prof. Gaber Kandil; both from Alexandria University.

In Cairo, the Kasr El Ayni Hospital was already an internationally recognized General Medical School from the start of the 20th century. Prof. Theodor Bilharz practiced there in 1850, and in 1851 he discovered the scientific roots of Bilharziasis; a scourge that baffled Egyptian physicians since the dawn of history.
Many Professors came from Europe, invited by Egyptian Governments. We all remember the famous duet: Douglas Derry, Professor of Anatomy, and G.V. Anrep, Professor of Physiology.

Prof. Ali Ibrahim, (later "Pasha") was one of many Egyptian Surgeons sent to Europe for the FRCS. He was appointed as Prof. in the Kasr El Ayni and later as Dean of the Medical College. He used his influence for gradually replacing European Professors by Egyptian ones.

Prof. Naguib Makar was the first General Surgeon to specialize full-time in Urology. He laid the foundation of the Urology Department in Cairo University in the famous Ward 17; which since the 1940s has become the "Castle of Urology" in Egypt!
His treatise about the endoscopic views of thousands of Bilharzial patients became an international reference. It was published in 1955.

He was followed by Prof. Riad Fawzy as chairman of the Department. He implemented the "Diploma" and the "Mastership" as the post-graduate Urology degrees, in place of the British FRCS. Later the "Mastership" got titled as the "Doctorate".

Prof. Mahmoud Badr consequently followed, he was an inspired teacher. He held "Tutorials", for many generations of young surgeons and urologists. When he headed Ward 17 he almost simultaneously inaugurated the "Egyptian Urological Association" on 1947. Under his guidance the E.U.A. soon became the most successful and active medical "Association" in Egypt.

He was followed by a series of brilliant generations, Prof. Mohamed Safwat, Prof. Aziz FAM, and Prof. Anwar El-Etribi.

In the 1940s and 1960s The King Fuad (Cairo) University had several "Descendants". Urology Departments were inaugurated by Cairo University Graduated Urology Professors. First was Ibrahim Pasha (Ain-Shams) University. Then King Abbas (Assiout) University, Mansoura University, Zagazik University, and El-Azhar University.

The Urology Departments in all of them were first headed by Kasr-El-Ayni Post-Graduates:

Prof. Ali Maged in Ain-Shams, Prof. Attwa Ibrahim in Assiout, Prof Mohamed Ghoneim in Mansoura, Prof. Abdel-Sattar Mostafa in Zagazik, and Prof. Fahem Abdel Rahim in El-Azhar.
Later, the Regional Universities started to breed their own Post-Graduates who initiated further Regional Universities in Benha, Suez-Canal, Sohag, Menoufia .

One further off-Shoot from Cairo University deserves special mention. Following Nasser's Revolution there was a wave of immigration among doctors. Some went to Britain and USA, and stayed there. One of them, Prof. Magdy Yacoub later became an authority in Cardiac Surgery. While Prof. Mostafa El-Hilali later became the President of the "Societe Internationale d'Urologie" (S.I.U.). Some went as highly respectable “Ambassadors” of Egyptian Medicine to the newly independent Arab and African countries such as Lebanon, Saudia, Kuwait, Yemen, and Nigeria. Their reputation attracted thousands of patients from almost one third of the Arab Peninsula, as well as from Irak and Iran.

The Mansoura group deserves a great special mention. The founder, Prof. Mohamed Ghoneim laid the principle of “Non Profit Full Time Professorship”. He also initiated the first Renal Transplantation Service not only in Egypt, but in the Middle East. Under his guidance, and in co-operation with Prof. Mostafa El-Hilali, located in Canada, several young urologists got excellent training; and came back to gain an international reputation; not only for the Mansoura Group but also for "Egyptian Urology" in general.

Today, The E.U.A. is in partnership with the European Association of Urology, and is rapidly progressing to an international status of its own. We look forwards for many thriving and productive years.

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