Thanks and congratulations to my colleague Dr. Al Mudather Abulgasim. He invited me to the prize giving ceremony at Friendship Hall,Khartoum.He won a prize for his poetry.I also got to witness a wonderful opera performed by local artists. The opera was a tribute to the Sheikhs of Sudan particularly a homage to Sheikh Abdurahim Al-Bura’i.Here are some pictures of the event
All around the world there are courageous and creative women working for peace, social justice and a secured future. There is a global network named Peace Women across the Globe. The initiative comprises 1000 women who were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Sixteen women from this list are from Sudan.
Women in Sudan have always been very active and courageous compared to other Arab countries. Sudanese women form a major part of the working people in all sectors. One can see women driving cars in Sudan.
I recently attended a doctors’ conference and found that more than 60% of the attendees were women. Later I read the GMS column by A.S.Akoronki and was confirmed that the general ratio in higher education is 67% for females and 33% for males. On Women’s day a few women dedicated the special day to the ‘Ubiquitous Tea Women’ in Khartoum by playing their role. This was to show respect to their job and effort to earn money for their children and family.
A few local singers have composed new songs to commemorate Mother’s Day. Many of my Sudanese friends posted their picture with their mother in social media.
One of the heroes of Sudan is Fatima Ahmed Mohamed Ibrahim. She has written four books. ‘Our War to Freedom’; ‘Our Harvest in Twenty Years’; ‘Arabs Women and Social Changes’ and the fourth book written in English is titled ‘An Outcry’.
Sudan has high incidence of patients with kidney stones. It is relevant to know who treats a patient with kidney stones- is he or she an Urologist or a Nephrologist? A Nephrologist is a physician who has been trained in the treatment and management of kidney disorders. A Nephrologist is not a surgeon and will treat kidney disorders by non-surgical methods, such as, regulating blood pressure, regulating electrolytes, balancing fluids in the body, and administering medicines and dialysis.
Urology, on the other hand, is a medical and surgical specialty that focuses on the urinary tract. Urologists are surgeons who are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage patients with urological disorders. Their areas of specialty are the male and female urinary tracts, which include the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder and urethra. They also treat the male reproductive system.
The Urologists treat kidney stones, prostrate and bladder problems. But when it comes to kidney transplants it is teamwork between a Nephrologist and an Urologist. Similarly, female lower urological problems like incontinence, overactive bladder and painful bladder conditions overlap between the domains of Gynaecologists and Urologists. Thus the pre-conference workshops of the 2nd International Conference of Sudanese Urological Association was held in collaboration with Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists-Sudan Liaison Group and many Nephrologists including Prof.Omer Aboud attended the Urologists Conference held at Corinthia hotel, Khartoum from 7th to 9th March’14.
Dr.Nasr Abdelmageed Ramadan – President of Sudanese Urological Association was very pleased with the attendance at the international conference and the participation of 15 foreign speakers. The topics discussed ranged from new methods of kidney stone management to treatment of prostate cancer and bladder cancer.
Dr.Anil Mithani Consultant Urologist at Omdurman Teaching Hospital and Treasurer of the Urological Association seemed happy in company of three visiting Indian Urologists attending the conference. Dr.Janak Desai from Ahmedabad, India stayed back in Khartoum to perform a few difficult surgeries at the Military Hospital. Dr.Desai has patented a unique method of key hole surgery for kidney stone removal with a telescope of the size of a ball pen refill and breaks the stone by Laser. The device is called UMP (Ultra-mini percutaneous nephrolithotomy) and is a revolutionary new system which requires no stitch and the patient is back in action within 24 hours.
The loving old couple you see in this picture is Terry Gabrialidis,75 and his wife Helen. Terry’s father Panayioti was born in Greece in 1908. As a youngster he ventured out of Greece and came to Alexandria in Egypt and then to Khartoum, Sudan. He was one of the pioneers of Lemonade in Sudan. Terry was born in Khartoum. He graduated from Comboni College and started importing automotive spare parts. The popular Greek snack bar named Pitta came to him by default from a fellow Greek who went back to his country. This was thirty years ago when around 7000 Greeks lived in this country. Today there are only 150 of them. They have a church, a school and a club for their community. I enjoy the Koftas in Greek Pitta near Marwa Bookshop off Ghamoria street in downtown Khartoum.
19 members of the African Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (AFOG) got together at the Police Club in Khartoum on Friday 21st February’14. This meeting was hosted by the General Secretary of AFOG, a son of the soil, Dr.Amir Elnahas. The countries present at this meeting were Benin, Cameroon, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunis, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The meeting was presided by present President of AFOG Dr.Yirgu Gebrehiwot from neighbouring Ethiopia. President Elect Prof. Oladapo Ladipo from Nigeria was also present.
The Aims of the federation is to promote women’s health in general, and to promote maternal and new born health in particular, in Africa. It is also to improve the practice of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in African continent and to promote member associations at a national level.
It also aims to collaborate with regional federations and the International Federation of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists for the promotion of women’s health globally.
Most of the discussions dwelt on the key facts of maternal mortality and the road map to tackle them.
Sub-Saharan Africa has on the average, the worst health outcomes in the world. The region has 12% of the world’s population, yet bears 26% of the global disease burden.
Every day about 800 women die globally from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth and 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
The cumulative lifetime risk of maternal deaths is as high as 1 in 16 pregnancies in some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, compared to 1 in 2800 in most developed countries.
A woman in Africa has one-in-39 lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy and delivery related complications compared to 1 in 4000 in developed countries.
A lot needs to be done by AFOG and the members of this professional non-profit organization is a dedicated team.
It was the 27th Scientific Conference of Sudan Association of Physicians held at Friendship Hall, Khartoum from 21st to 23rd February’14. Prof. Siddig Ibrahim Khalil the President of the largest doctors association in Sudan said that in this conference there were speakers on wide range of medical conditions and topics from primary and ambulatory care, cardiology, infectious diseases, neurology, diabetes, dementia, health diplomacy and telemedicine. Prof.Siddig added that there is an increasing trend of coronary artery diseases, predominantly in the town dwellers of Sudan . He advised the people to stop smoking, do some regular physical exercise and avoid fast and fatty food. He also recommended prevention of coronary artery diseases by treating diabetes, high blood pressure and by reducing cholesterol levels in the blood.
Dr.Abu Bakr Bashir Mohamed the General Secretary of the association said that every year this was a nice gathering of physicians on the basis of academic interests and health issues and recommendations to policy makers to improve health services in Sudan. He said that the association is also working towards creating more awareness amongst the public in primary health care such as diabetes, hypertension and ischemic heart disease. Presidential Assistant Prof.Ibrahim Ghandour who inaugurated the conference and spoke to the large gathering of physicians, endorsed the theme of primary care and assured the doctors to comply with the recommendations for improved primary health care in Sudan.
This was the 2nd International Cardiology Conference held in Khartoum organized by Sudan Heart Society from 8th to 10th February’14 with Dr.Saad Subahi as the President of the society. The conference was well attended by Consultant Cardiologists, Interventional Cardiologists, Cardiac surgeons and all Doctors in Sudan who are pursuing a career in Cardiology. There were 15 International speakers from USA, Ireland, UK, France, Poland, Germany, Italy, Singapore, South Africa, KSA, Qatar and UAE. The conference was preceded by workshops for Sudanese doctors with hands-on sessions conducted by experts from UK, Germany and KSA.
Dr.Saad Subahi President of Sudan Heart Society said that after the successful first International conference of Cardiologists held in Khartoum last year, the society has achieved a lot both internally and externally. Internally the society has held regular educational programmes for health providers including doctors, nurses and technicians through seminars and short symposia. The society has collaborated with the Ministry of Health in writing protocols for treatment of various diseases. Most important has been for the prevention of acute rheumatic fever in children of age ranging from 5 to 15 named Awareness, Surveillance, Advocacy and Prevention (ASAP). The recommendation is a single long acting Penicillin injection for children having sore throat without running nose and cough. This has been accepted by both the Federal Ministry of Health and the Khartoum State Ministry of Health. The Sudan Heart Society has also written the protocol to manage acute chest pain or angina in primary, secondary and tertiary health centres. Training of health care workers has been conducted in Wad Madani, Atbara and Kareema. The society has collaborated with other societies in educating patients and public as well in creating awareness and prevention of cardiovascular diseases and celebrated World Heart Day.
Externally Sudan Heart Society has satisfied the criteria of European Society of Cardiology for its accreditation and it’s a matter of pride that Sudan after South Africa is the second nation in the Sub-Saharan African region to become a member of ESC. Sudan Heart Society is also represented in the executive committee of Pan African Society of Cardiology with the positions of Vice President –North and Asst. Secretary General-North.
Prof.Mamoun Homeida Khartoum State Minister of Health addressed the gathering at the inauguration of the conference. He spoke highly of the Cardiologists in Sudan and announced the opening of the new building and facilities at Al Shaab Teaching Hospital in Khartoum. Now this hospital is dedicated for Chest and Heart patients both for surgery and treatment. It has 62 beds in ICU with new advanced equipments for Echo and Bronchoscope. Prof.Homeida is hopeful that Cardiac and Chest patients will benefit from these advanced technologies and that patients from neighbouring countries will also travel to Al Shaab Hospital for treatment
At a ceremony on 4th Feb’14, University of Alzeim Azhari, Khartoum, Sudan conferred an Honorary Doctoral Degree on Mr.Salman Khurshid, Indian Minister of External Affairs. The Indian Foreign Minister was on a state visit and met his Sudanese counterpart Ali Karti and other senior officials in Khartoum. Mr.Salman Khurshid took some time out and met the members of the Indian community at the residence of the Ambassador of India Mr.Sanjay Kumar Verma. While addressing the gathering the Minister said that he was elated as this was his first PhD. He added that this honour was not for him but very clearly for India. He said that being the Foreign Minister of India means having the best of goodwill all over the world. India has been very cautious and careful in Africa but needs to reach out more and particularly in Sudan as Sudan is a very important partner. He has discussed with the Sudanese Foreign Minister about creating a park in Sudan and naming it after Mahatma Gandhi. India will also bring in some interesting trees, plants and flowers in the park. He concluded by saying that India owes a lot to Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore because without these great souls India would have had an empty plate.
Dr.Salman Khurshid is a writer and his play in search of India titled ‘Sons of Babur’ was much appreciated in Sudan and may be one of the many reasons of being awarded an honorary doctoral degree. It is reportedly being translated into Arabic with the title ‘Ibna Babur’. The name of the protagonist in ‘Sons of Babur’ is Rudranshu Mitra. I asked His Excellency Salman Khurshid whether his friend in Oxford Rudrangshu Mukherjee was the inspiration for the name. He agreed immediately and added that he had sent the script to Rudrangshu before publishing but he did not correct the spelling with the ’g’. He remembered the debates he had with Rudra in Oxford. I remember Rudrangshuda from our days in Presidency College. I have seen the historian in action as a pace bowler in the college pitch.
“Many a times, people wonder as to what is it that India wants from its engagement with the country of two Niles – our simple response is, to assist the people and the government of Sudan to achieve what they aspire for” said the Ambassador of India H.E. Sanjay Kumar Verma. The Ambassador addressed a distinguished gathering of 300 people on the lawns of his residence on the occasion of the 65th Republic day of India on 26th January’14. Present at the dinner were quite a few Sudanese ministers, politicians, senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassadors of several nations, distinguished Sudanese people from every walk of life and a sizeable number of members of the Indian community in Sudan.
His Excellency Sanjay Kumar Verma further said “Capacity building is one of the main tools for conduct of India’s bilateral relationship with Sudan. Capacity building in human resource, in infrastructure and in industrial processes. Objective is to assist the people and the government of the Republic of the Sudan to enter into the phase of a better socio-economic development with sustainable growth. India too passed through similar phases and we are ready to share our experience, as done in the past, with our interlocutors in this country. We open our educational institutions to our friends from Sudan – about 225 of them go to study in India annually on the Government of India scholarships, for both long and short terms, another 1500 or more go on self financing basis every year. Though, it is difficult to put a number on the Sudanese nationals, who would have graduated from India, a number of over 30,000 have been estimated by many. In order to leverage our friendship further, we are also engaged in creating institutions of human resource development in Sudan. Two such ongoing projects include a center for English language training and another one for vocational training. There are many other projects in the pipeline. Under our initiative to assist Sudan in capacity building for its infrastructure and industrial sectors, we are engaged in the construction of a 500 MW power plant in Kosti and a sugar mill at Mashkour. There have been many such projects completed in the past as well. Lines of Credit have been used as one of the tools to implement such projects, keeping their ownership with the people of this land. We are one of the significant trading partners to Sudan and have also taken up sincerely in setting up of industrial units here. Currently, we are engaged in sectors such as agriculture, agro-processing, steel, pharmaceuticals, energy and mining.”
The Ambassador also added “The world would very soon, in a few months time, witness the largest democratic exercise on mother earth – about 800 million voters, about the same as the population of entire Europe, would be queuing up in India to cast their ballots, to have their say in who governs them and what should be the philosophy of the governance for the next five years. Yes, India will have its general elections in next few months’ time from now. An exercise, fully electronic and credible! This is the largest event ever that the world would witness! Of course, it will also be like a festival to celebrate the success of the Indian model of democracy”.
The Chief Guest and the official representative of the Government of the Republic of Sudan at the grand occasion was His Excellency Altayef Hassan Badawi, Minister of Culture. He conveyed felicitations and warm greetings from the President of Sudan to the Ambassador, Government and the people of India. Minister Badawi spoke of the historical ties between Sudan and India and referred to India as a symbol of rich cultural, historical and political civilization, as seen by the world. He was happy to announce that the relationship between Sudan and India is moving forward steadily in all sectors, politically, commercially and culturally despite international and regional changes taking place. It is important to point out the efforts taken by both the Governments at a top level meeting last November. As a result a meeting of senior ministers will take place soon. Another important meeting between the businessmen of the two countries will take place in the first quarter of the current New Year. He once again greeted the Ambassador of India and the people of India for their prosperity and development.
At the end all guests left with memories of a fine evening and delectable Indian cuisine.
“2014 is a precipice moment in our history. We must re-discover that sense of national purpose and patriotism, which lifts the nation above and across the abyss; and back on to the road of prosperity. Give the young jobs and they will raise the villages and cities to 21st century standards. Give them a chance and you will marvel at the India they can create.” This is an abstract from the speech of the President of India on the eve of 65th Republic Day. The Ambassador of India in Sudan H.E. Sanjay Kumar Verma unfurled the national tricolor with the national anthem and read out the President’s speech to the Indian community gathered at India House, the residence of the Ambassador, at 9am on 26th January’14. He concluded the President’s speech with “India’s true strength lies in her Republic; in the courage of her Constitution, and the patriotism of her people.1950 saw the birth of our Republic. I am sure that 2014 will be the year of resurgence”. The day in Khartoum was celebrated with children dancing to patriotic songs and ladies singing for them. His Excellency Mr. Altayeb Hassan Badawi, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Sudan was the Chief Guest at the banquet in the evening. Several Ambassadors from various countries and other distinguished guests attended the function. The Ambassador of India H.E. Sanjay Kumar Verma addressed the august gathering by greeting them on the Republic Day and highlighting the significance of the Indian constitution and secularism in India. He also mentioned about the largest democratic exercise which the world will be witnessing with about 800 million voters, about the same as the population of entire Europe, during the forthcoming general elections. This will be fully electronic and credible . He then spoke about the historical and traditional friendship between India and Sudan.Capacity building is one of the main tools for conduct of India’s bilateral relationship with Sudan. Capacity building in human resource, in infrastructure and in industrial processes. Objective is to assist the people and the government of the Republic of the Sudan to enter into the phase of a better socio-economic development with sustainable growth. India is engaged in the construction of a 500 MW power plant in Kosti and a sugar mill at Mashkour. India is also engaged as trading partners in sectors such as agriculture, agro-processing, steel, pharmaceuticals, energy, mining etc. Mr.Badawi in turn conveyed the congratulatory message from the President of the Republic of Sudan and endorsed the Ambassador’s objectives of further strengthening and consolidating the bilateral relations between Sudan and India.