Saturday, December 16, 2006

Biography: Dr.Areef Ibrahim Adham 1878-1935

An update on my late paternal grandfather whom I never met.
I thank Dr. Abushwereb who sent me this historical part about my gradfather. I also thank Dr.Ghazi Geblawi for introducing me to Dr. Abushwereb for without this I'd never have found any information about Dr.Areef – My Grandfather.
Taken from JMJ Jamahiriya Medical Journal
Published by The Libyan Board of Medical Specialities

Biography: Dr.Areef Ibrahim Adham . 1878-1935
Editor: A.K.Abushwereb .

Known as Dr.Arref a famous Libyan physician in the first half of the 19th century. He deserves presentation for his suffering and struggle through his life against unfavorable circumstances he had come across . Born in Dannon a district in Garian in 1878. As all children in his village he had to go to the Kittab then to the primary school after which he enrolled in the secondary military school in Bab-Elbahr /Tripoli. He was lucky to be granted a scholarship for university study, the faculty of medicine was his wish , he graduated in 1905 and on return to his homeland, he was appointed as a general physician in Municipality(Beladiye) Hospital in Sharaa Mezran (now Ali Hyder Saati primary school). He was looking after the general medicine ward for males and females, the main problems were related to gastrointestinal, respiratory and urinary systems. After 2 years of practice he was promoted to(Yuzbashi) captain. In October 1911, the Italian invasion started , Dr.Areef was one of hundreds deported to one of the Italian islands, after 2 years in the exile he returned to Tripoli, since he was an Ottoman employee he left to Istanbul, where he was appointed as a military regiment physician, and had to join the war in the Balkans.
War prisoner:
Dr.Areef was captured and treated as a war prisoner for few years , after he was sent to Jedda as director of the military Hospital, he was promoted there to (Bimbashi) major. The war broke out in the Middle-East between the Ottomans and the British troops, there again Dr.Areef was kept as a prisoner of war in Sidi Bishir/Alexandria camp of prisoners. After an agreement between the two countries he was received in Istanbul as a great champion, offered awards and promoted to (Emir liwa) marshal. Dr.Areef received many letters from his family and friends in Tripoli, urging him to return to his home-land where he was most wanted. In fact he was able to return to Tripoli in 1920. A happiness and joy could not be described to see his relatives and friends after ten years of separation. He lived in his family home in the old city, and not far, he started a private clinic, he married his first cousin and had five children .

Dr. Areef was appointed as a physician in the dispensary of the old city with the Italian Dr. Cortez, has made good reputation with the Libyan families and known society's elite persons. He then was appointed into school health services department as a school heath inspection, he had to visit schools for routine check-up to see the general health, vaccination status, and to treat the sick . Eye disease, trachoma in particular was very common, chest infection, gastroenteritis, malaria and tuberculosis were common problems, Diphtheria was a killing disease and many were left physically handicapped after polio infection. Dr. Areef arranged and supervised campaign to check vaccination status, reasons for defaulters and to pick ones with chronic disease . Until now many old people remember Dr. Areef, for example .
He used to call the whole class and examine each student in particular the general cleanliness, hair, mouth, eye, nails…..etc'' said one of students in 1940, He was elegant, respectable and attractive personality'' Dr.A. ''Ajeli'' Ahumble doctor, known for his sense of humor ''Mr A. Misheergi'' He was our neighbour and our family physician, his private clinic was in kushet-assuffar district .Dr F. kabazi. Dr. arref died in 1935, left five children and his wife. He was buried in Tripoli cemetery. The only gratuity had, is his photo-stamp by the general directorate of the Post and communication .


  • Very interesting, Trabilsia. Thanks for sharing!

    Where did he study university, and when did he start?

    When was he "appointed as a physician in the dispensary of the old city"?

    By Blogger Hannu, at December 16, 2006 8:20 AM  

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