Educated in Turkey, Ethiopian makes it big at home

Educated in Turkey, Ethiopian makes it big at home

An Istanbul-educated Ethiopian physician, with his heart "still beating in Istanbul," has realized his dream of opening a hospital in his country.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency (AA) in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, Dr. Jelal Mohammad Hasan said he could not have become a doctor and the owner of a hospital had it not been for Turkey. Hasan said he spent six years in Istanbul to earn his degree in medicine at Istanbul University, one of Turkey's oldest and biggest.

Born and raised in a poor family in Adama, Ethiopia, Hasan's life changed for the better after receiving a grant from the Islamic Development Bank's Scholarship Program, and now he takes pride - and justifiably so - in serving his own people.

"I used to study for at least six hours a day. If I had worked like some of the Turkish students, I couldn't have graduated. All of my friends and teachers helped me very much," Hasan said. He called the time he spent there unforgettable. "The thing I miss most is Istanbul. I've highly recommended Istanbul to all of my friends," Hasan said, sitting in his office in the five-story building of the hospital that he heads, which serves hundreds of patients every day.

He said that Istanbul welcomes people from different cultures and backgrounds. "I can't forget the days that I walked from the university to Taksim and ate fish on the banks of the Golden Horn," he fondly reminisced, adding that he was not normally a jealous person, but he had always envied Istanbulites.

After returning to his country in 2010, Hasan decided to set up a small clinic, which he ran for five years. "In the beginning, I would clean the clinic. Some people were taken aback, asking, why are you cleaning the clinic? Aren't you a doctor?! My wife also painted the walls and helped with everything," he said.

Once he had enough experience and savings, he established the Afran Hospital in Addis Ababa in 2015. The hospital provides treatment in gynecology, internal diseases, general surgery and pediatrics. It also has an emergency ward.

Hasan mingles with Turkish people living and working in Ethiopia. For him, it is a way to feel close to Istanbul while still in Addis Ababa. Many Turkish expats, in return, go to him for treatment and consult him about their health problems. Hasan thinks that Turkey should open a big hospital in Addis Ababa. "This is the capital of Africa," he said. "So, Turkey should open a hospital and show its rich experience in the health sector. "Hasan dreams of opening a state-of-the-art hospital in Ethiopia one day. "Ethiopians deserve it," he said.