Saturday, March 14, 2009

The memory of a pioneer

This month, my pioneer in medicine is Prof Dr Zohair Nooman

Firstly, He is the founding dean of first faculty of medicine stands on problem-based learning in Egypt.
Near 50 years difference between our generation and Prof Nooman. But he was kind and smart enough to continue teaching and meeting medical students. He knows that we need. We need a reference. And he was. May God bless him.

I remember when we were in one-day workshop in Port Said. We were in second year as medical students. However, this was a great day with the Grandpa and the retired Prof Nooman. I remember his notes with Prof Dr Hink Schmidt and how they tried to introduce the philosophy of PBL.

He told us how difficult it was to introduce these new techniques in medical education in a developing country based on traditional learning. “After Alma Ata declaration (USSR, 1979), and health for all by 2000, these phrases should put in accomplishment” He said. He told us about the meeting he invited all Egyptian medical sectors in universities, Ministry of health, military, private… It took a great effort to introduce a new concept, explain, and convince them. It was difficult to take an official & formal OK to start a faculty with PBL and community oriented education together.

He faced financial conflicts. He passed these obstacles himself. I do not know the details. However, regarding the deal with responsible persons whom were not convinced and some tried to hinder him from completing his ambition. These were the real obstacles. However, he succeeded.

One day he said if we had followed the rules, we could not make this new faculty. The rules put to be broken at a time.
One of the employee told how he was working hard even he had to Xerox the papers until 4 am himself.
One time he told us that he decided at time not to practice medicine anymore. However, he passed this critical period.
He also introduced hepatology and GIT Endoscopy on an advanced basis in the university hospital. I attended the first preparations of the unit while a medical student.
I was a member in the centre of education research and development in the faculty. This centre was in collaboration with Maastricht University. His group was so active. I keep some memorial handwritings by the Prof. One time we make some drafts and points to discuss a subject by handwriting. He taught us how to organize and present the data on computerized copy. A friend said we are thinking on papers and he is thinking by computer. I read his book on innovation in medical education. This was edited with Prof Dr Esmat Ezzat (his wife).

Ambition. He told us what is the difference between goal and ambition. One of his ambitions (far goals or dreams) was the change in the politics and geography. He was dreaming of end of royal family in Egypt. Then, a new map of Egypt separated from Sudan. It was an impossible dream to think. However, he was drawing the new map in his mind and on the papers. Then, his far goals or dreams occurred. Egypt become a republic not a royal and separated from Sudan. He said this on comment on me said by one of the professors when she said I am ambitious. Since then, I know what is goal and what an ambition is.

Introduction of nontraditional FOM in a developing country is also impossible, but it happened.
I remember his Mercedes car and his cigarettes. We attended many conferences with him. I remember when he attended my bachelor’s exam and how he was ill and so old. I remember last images when he attended our day of graduation. I remember his last days when he was sick and admitted in the hospital.

I remember him forever. I learnt a lot from him in a short time. Despite he was retired and I met him less than my seniors did. He was kind enough to give his experience in short hints every now and then for the medical students.

One of my lectures was on PBL in cardiology. I dedicated this lecture for his memory.

Dear visitor, kindly please tell us about one of your referees or pioneers.

I power

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