Ibrahim Seraj, M.D.
August 4, 2002
- In 1932 during the reign of King Nader Shah, the first and only Medical College was founded for Afghanistan, in Kabul.
- In 1931 a physician assistant program had already begun in Kabul, which lasted for three terms.
- The first students of the college were 10 high school graduates.
- Entrance exam was not required.
- Turkish Professors had the honor to train the first group of Afghan physicians.
- During this time the students attended for six years.
- All students were male, since no female attended school at that time.
- Following year an additional 8 students were admitted to this college.
- Basic sciences were included in the first year of curriculum.
- Students were sent to India (Bombay) to learn anatomical dissection during their second year.
- The clinical training started in third year during morning at the state hospital in Jade Maiwand.
- Didactic lessons continued in the afternoons.
- The sixth year was a clinical rotation in the above hospital.
- For many years this was the only college in Afghanistan, at the Kabul University.
- First group of students graduated in 1938.
- In 1938 “Ali Abad University Hospital” was built and inaugurated.
- Years later colleges of Science, Law, and others were added to Kabul University.
- Upon termination of the contract with Turkey a relationship with French health authorities were established.
- An affiliation between Kabul Medical School and Paris Medical School started.
- At this point 12 French professors arrived to teach basic as well as clinical sciences.
- At this point the school duration extended to seven years of study.
Curriculum of Medical School:
- First year basic sciences: PCB ( Physics, chemistry, and biology) which was common classes for colleges of Medicine and Science. In 1961 PCB was changed to MPCB. Mathematics was added.
- First and second year Medical School: Anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, biophysics, and histology. Anatomical dissection was performed in Kabul, therefore there was no need to send students to India.
- Third year: Internal medicine, surgery, general pathology.
- Fourth year: General medicine, surgery, preventive medicine, infectious diseases, pharmacology, obstetrics, and organ pathology.
- Fifth year: Pediatrics, gynecology, dermatology, neuropsychiatry, ENT, and ophthalmology.
- Starting with the third year students received clinical training at the “Ali Abad and women’s University Hospitals”.
- This included four and half months in Internal Medicine and four and a half months in Surgery.
- During this time, and during their fourth and fifth years the students worked in the hospitals in the morning and in the afternoon they followed lectures at the medical school.
- In their sixth year students had only clinical rotations in hospitals through out Kabul, in different disciplines and no theoretical lectures.
- Upon completion of their rotation they had to take a clinical test in each field.
- Upon successful completion of the tests M.D degree was awarded to each graduate.
Jalalabad Medical School
- In 1963 in Afghanistan the second medical school in Jalal Abad was founded.
- The efforts of Dr. Gordon Hadley resulted in establishing affiliation between LLU and Jalal Abad Medical School.
- Curriculum of this university followed the same as that of Kabul Medical School.
- In mid 1950s when the number of students increased, concours (entrance exam) was introduced.
- Number of graduates from Kabul and Jalal Abad medical schools increased from ten to 120 per year.
- From each graduating school year 10 percent remained as staff with the universities.
- The remaining graduated physicians became employees of the MPH, and other government institutions.
- Medical Schools were part of the universities.
- The Chancellors of these universities were directly responsible to the Minister of Education.
During and after the communist regime:
Kabul Medical School is divided into three branches (sections):
- Pediatrics, and
- Number of students in each class increased from low one hundred to hundreds.
- Total number of students reached in thousands.
- School of medicine was named Kabul Medical Institute (KMI).
- KMI was transferred to MPH.
- In the last few years five additional medical schools were opened in the provinces
- Balkh (Mazar-I-Sharif) 1986
- Herat 19..
- Kandahar 1992
- Gulbahar (Albiruni Univ.) was brought from Faiz Abad
- Afghan University (Peshawar) 1999
- Total number of students exceeding ten thousand.
- Kabul Medical School in recent years again detached from the MPH and became attached by by-passing the University directly to the Minister of Higher Education.
- The Kabul Medical School evolved to several colleges.
- Number of graduates exceeded the needs.
- Quality of education deteriorated.
- The curriculum suffered a major setback.
- No one is sure of the present curriculum.
- A complete re-haul is needed.
- LLU and the Afghan Medical Association in America is in the process of re-establishing relations with KMI and the MPH – a welcomed opportunity.