As a society we are yet to come to terms with the passing on of Prof. Saidi Hassan which occurred on 29th August 2017. He first served in the Council as a member, later came up the rank as a secretary where he served for some years and was then elected as the Vice president in 2011 – 2013. He then took over as the President in 2013 – 2015 which he handed over in 2015 March. During his tenure he was the Editor in Chief of the society journal the Annals of African Surgery, which he pioneered effortlessly till his death.
Prof. Saidi was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. He performed well in his formative studies before joining the University of Nairobi to study Medicine. He performed exemplarily well in Human Anatomy in his first year and was enrolled in the prestigious course of B.Sc. Human Anatomy, from which he graduated with honors. His notable teachers of Anatomy include the late Prof. Joseph Mungai and the late Prof. James Kimani. Prof. Saidi thereafter completed his undergraduate medical training before enrolling in a Masters of Medicine program in Surgery. During this period, he was employed as an assistant lecturer in the Department of Human Anatomy. On completion of his master’s degree training, he was promoted to the position of lecturer. He held this position for three years before advancing to become a senior lecturer and subsequently an associate professor of Anatomy in 2011.
He was an excellent teacher of Anatomy, with a thirty-year experience in instruction and teaching Human Anatomy at the University of Nairobi, Aga Khan University Nairobi and University of Pennsylvania. He has mastery of Embryology, Gross Anatomy, Histology and molecular biology, with Surgical anatomy as his pet subject. Prof. Hassan Saidi taught over 4000 undergraduate medical students, supervised over 40 B.Sc. Anatomy students, 30 Master of Medicine Surgery students, 4 Master of Anatomy students. He mentored many renowned surgeons, doctors and clinical officers.
Prof. Hassan Saidi was able to publish over 60 high impact peer reviewed articles in local and international journals. His research activity focused on clinical anatomy in all its aspects, trauma, oncology and surgery of the digestive tract. He published a book on histology and was in the process of publishing a text book of Surgical Anatomy. Prof. Hassan Saidi held many leadership roles in the University of Nairobi, initially as a course coordinator and rising to become the chairman of thematic areas within the department. He was the substantive Chairman of the Department of Human Anatomy until the time of his death. Prof. Hassan Saidi was also the associate dean, Preclinical departments of the University of Nairobi. During his tenure as a chairman, he shepherded the establishment of the Nairobi Surgical Skills Centre, publication of the Kimani’s Histology Text and Atlas, Establishment of the Anatomy Journal of Africa, supported staff development, training and promotion as well as supporting many local and international staff retreats.
Prof. Hassan Saidi was a celebrated general and laparoscopic surgeon in Nairobi, Kenya. He was a fellow, American College of Surgeons. He was actively involved in the residency training in the University of Nairobi, Kenyatta National Hospital and Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi. His contributions to the surgical fraternity in Kenya included promotion of resident training in major teaching hospitals, promotion of research and grants locally, revamping the annual Surgical Society of Kenya retreats, promoting the Annual Surgical Society of Kenya Free surgical camps, linkages with the American College of Surgeons and establishment of the biannual Annals of African Surgery. It is through his leaderships skills that Surgical Society of Kenya has been able to successfully partner with the University of Nairobi in various projects.
Prof Hassan indeed had many friends. He definitely did not know all of them, but yet he would never deny any genuine person seeking assistance. Taking time to engage with different age groups and this he did effortlessly. An opportunity to watch football, play some basketball or just have a ‘chat’ (always very insightful and refreshing) over some coffee snack was a sought-after opportunity by many. In his 36hr day, he would still find time to call up and catch up with his friends, his objective to savour every moment with friends to improve them in one way or another. What better HE WAS!
Prof. Hassan Saidi was married, with three sons. He was actively involved in charity and volunteer activities through HAIBA foundation and other charity groups. He was a mentor, a great teacher, researcher and a surgeon.
He surely fought a good fight and finished the race. He will be missed by many!.