Lives of the fellows

Daoud Mustafa-Khalid

b.10 August 1917 d.3 June 2008
DKSM(1941) MRCP(1952) FRCP(1967)

Daoud Mustafa-Khalid was a revered role model for Sudanese physicians and a pioneer of clinical neurology in Sudan and sub-Saharan Africa. He dominated the medical scene for nearly six decades, and was the most iconic and charismatic figure of his generation in academic medicine in Sudan. He was born on Tuti Island, at the point where the Blue and White Niles meet to form the main Nile River, in the north western fringes of Khartoum. His parents, Mustafa Khalid and Rogaya Daoud, were first cousins and from the local Mahassi people, who were famous for producing many holy men, religious scholars and teachers. His father, a self-educated civil servant, was a well-respected figure in his local community. In the mid-1940s he was imprisoned by the British during the last few years of the Anglo-British rule after he led a group of islanders in a protest against the confiscation of agricultural lands.

Daoud went to primary schools at Khartoum, Abu Zabad and Um Rawaba, two towns in western Sudan, where his father was working as a civil servant. In 1932 he joined Gordon Memorial College (GMC), the beacon of modern secondary education in the Sudan. At GMC he was mentored by the then eminent teachers – Awad Satti, A B Theobald and Ismail al-Azhari, who later became the first prime minister of Sudan following independence in 1956. Daoud was then selected to study medicine at Kitchener School of Medicine (KSM) in 1936. He was an outstanding student, winning prizes for physiology and anatomy during his basic science years, and for pathology, surgery and medicine on his graduation in 1941. His year cohort included Suliman Mudani (one of the first Sudanese obstetricians) and Mohamed Ali Ahmed (the first Sudanese dermatologist). KSM was an essential component of the Sudanese medical system, then a model of modern health services in the British Empire.

During his early training in medicine Daoud Mustafa was mentored by Roy Mervyn Humphreys, the senior physician in Khartoum and a lecturer in medicine at KSM, Finlay Mayne, the senior surgeon, and J S Hovell and Daoud Skander (one of the first Sudanese graduates of KSM).

In the 1940s, the Sudan health service was expanding rapidly and Sudanese doctors were gaining in experience. Daoud worked in several hospitals in various districts between 1943 and 1949, including Meroë in the far north, Wad Medani in the Gezira heartlands, and ending at Omdurman Civil Hospital. His experiences fuelled a deep sense of responsibility towards the Sudanese poor, which stayed with him throughout his career.

In 1950 Daoud Mustafa gained a scholarship to the UK to study internal medicine. He spent two years at Hammersmith, the London and other London hospitals, before obtaining his MRCP in 1952, one of just a handful of Sudanese physicians at that time to gain this accolade.

On his return to Sudan in 1952 he spent one year as physician in charge of Atbara Hospital, a main town to the north of Khartoum. In 1953, he returned to Omdurman Civil Hospital, where he was appointed as a part-time lecturer in medicine at University College Khartoum. (In 1953 Gordon Memorial College and the Kitchener School of Medicine merged to form University College Khartoum in the interim period before Sudan independence in 1956. After independence it became the University of Khartoum.) In 1958 Daoud Mustafa was appointed to the full-time staff at the faculty of medicine in Khartoum.

In 1960 Daoud Mustafa returned to London for further training at Hammersmith. In 1963 he took over from Hugh Vivian Morgan [Munk’s Roll, Vol.X, p.347], becoming the first Sudanese head of department of medicine at Khartoum University. In 1965 he was promoted to professor of medicine and in 1967 was elected as an FRCP. In 1974 he became dean of the medical school, and was awarded the title of professor emeritus in 1975.

Daoud took up the task of setting a strong foundation of general medicine in the medical school. He would pick bright students and would mentor and inspire them, helping them to find scholarships to various hospitals in the UK.

Despite being famous as an all-round clinician, from the outset of his career he took a particular interest in neurological sciences, at which he excelled. He founded the specialty in Sudan and inspired several students to become neurologists. Over several decades he ran a neurology clinic at Al-Shaab Hospital, an extension of the larger Khartoum Teaching Hospital. By 1985 he established a dedicated unit of neurology, which is hosted in the same premises as neurosurgery at Al-Shaab Hospital. He was a founding member of the Sudanese Society of Neurological Societies and was its president for many years.

Daoud had a deep sense of duty and responsibility towards his patients. Even the very short spell when he opened a private clinic he charged only a few patients and eventually closed his clinic to devote his time to seeing patients in public hospitals, where the care was provided free of charge. His commitment and dedication to his patients was difficult to emulate. He was an exception among his peers and throughout his career he set very high moral standards, which many of those he mentored found difficult to replicate.

He was universally accepted as a leader, and was much-liked and respected. He was survived by his wife, Nawal, an ex-school teacher, a son, Mustafa, who is training in anaesthesia in Dublin, and three daughters. The eldest daughter, Rogaya, is a college of education graduate. Hiba studied business and administration, and Samia is a pharmacist. In addition he had a stepdaughter, Mai Babiker, a graduate of science, and several grandchildren. Daoud’s legacy will be remembered for generations to come in his home country, Sudan.

Tarik A Elhadd

[Sudan Medical Journal Vol.44 No 1 2 & 3 (2008) p2-3; Faculty of Medicine – University of Khartoum Professor Daoud Mustafa – accessed 29 March 2014; Sudanese Association of Physicians Professor Daoud Mustafa Khalid accessed 29 March 2014; Sudanese Society for Neurosciences SSNS Obituary tribute to the late Professor Daoud Mustafa Khalid – accessed 29 March 2014]

(Volume XII, page web)

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