Khartoum — "My brother, take the drug on time... . and don't forget the date of your next appointment."
That is neurologist Abbashar Hussein seeing off one of his epileptic patients. He accompanies the patient to the outside of the voluntary clinic he set on the outskirts of Omdurman city, gives the patient the transport cost, the prescribed drug, not forgetting to tell the patient's companion to remind him to take the drug at the right time.
Despite the rocketing drug prices, Dr. Abbashar is keen to make it available for free to his patients, in addition to the weekly transport cost.
Each of his patients is given a notebook (an ordinary school exercise book) in which Dr. Abbashar records a detailing of the directions, the patient's progress and any important health developments that may occur on the patients as he proceeds with the treatment.
When the patient comes the next time Dr. Abbashar would read through the notebook as he merrily chats with him and his companion.
The clinic's waiting room is a big crowd of patients. Another crowd is assembled inside Dr. Abbashar's office. The group here is the patient he is considering his case and his companion, of course. But the majority is specialists, deputy specialist doctors and medical students who attend the clinic to help Dr. Abbashar and learn about neurology.
"We get here far more than we learn at our medical college. Here we learn neurology and we also learn how the patient should be treated and how the necessary information about his condition can be obtained," commented a medical student working within Dr. Abbashar's group of volunteers.
This is a weekly occurrence that starts at 3 PM every Friday. The patients continue to get in one by one until 3 AM Saturday morning. After that Dr. Abbashar would return home for some rest before he goes to his work in the general hospital. At sunset he would go to his private clinic.
Dr. Abbashar and his team of five specialists, seven assistant specialists and six medical students receive 200 patients every week, coming from the different parts of the country.
Seeing what Dr. Abbashar is doing, citizens in the clinic neighborhood chose to bring food and drinks to the patients every Friday.
Dr. Abbashar said that the idea of this clinic is "a project yet to be completed."
"It should be coupled with clinics on the other outskirts of Khartoum, God willing, two or three clinics in each locality. It is not difficult; it needs time and a little effort," he stresses.
Dr. Abbashar says he did not choose the outskirts of the City as a place for his clinic because of the good air and the little noise there, but because he considers the dwellers of remote areas are most in need for the clinic's free service.
"My dear... dwellers of the outskirts are the most in need for the clinic services. They don't have the transport cost to come to us for follow up every week. In addition, there are people who have never heard about what we are doing and will never do. Please, in The God's name, help us with some publicity," he requested Journalist Altahir Satti.
Further writes Journalist Satti: When I headed towards Dr. Abbashar's voluntary clinic at Alfitaihab area one Friday, more than fifty patients were in the waiting room. I passed through to Dr. Abbashar's office. "Give my aunt here a notebook and an appointment for next Friday. Revise the prescription and see what drugs it contains are available for us here," I heard Dr. Abbashar tell his assistants who give the patient the available drug or is told when he could come to take it.
Everything is recorded in the patient's notebook. The helping team is directed in writing to give the drug to the patient or help him buy it. They are also directed to pay for his transport back home, wrote Satti about his recollections from the patient's notebook.
The assistant doctors and the medical students sit around Dr. Abbashar as he chats with the patient to know his/her social and economic being in a manner that never hurts his/her feeling. Then the doctor starts the medical examination and diagnosis, well after the patient feels he is among friends. All the time the assistants continue to take important notes.
"Prof Abbashar is not just teaching us medicine. He is also teaching us how to become humans," said one of the medical students.
Dr. Abbashar Hussein was born 10 April 1959. He is a neurologist, scholar, and professor at the University of Khartoum.
In 1995 he founded the Daoud Research Group (DRG), a non-profit organization that provides free health care for neurology patients in Sudan. The Group is named after the late Professor Daoud Mustafa Khalid widely seen as the founder of neurological medicine in the country.
Fellow medics say Dr. Abbashar uses his profits from his private clinic to support patients in need with free medication and also covers their transportation costs.
He also established Daoud Mobile Charity Clinic in which he and a number of volunteers, including doctors and medical students, travel to provide free specialized neurology consultation and evaluation for patients in rural areas around Sudan.