IFRC mourns the loss of Egyptian Red Crescent Society Secretary General, Professor Mamdouh Gabr

Publié: 28 août 2014 9:40 CET

By Raefah Makki in Beirut 

The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement mourned on Monday the death of Professor Mamdouh Kamal Gabr, the Secretary General of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society and a distinguished figure in the country’s healthcare system.

Professor Gabr, who was 87, graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Cairo in 1947, obtained a doctorate in paediatrics in 1951, and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London, in 1981. He served as director of the University Children's Hospital at the University of Cairo between (1962-1978). Since 1947, he has been a member of Egypt's National Council of Childhood, participating in the development and implementation of national strategies for child health and nutrition.

In 1976 Professor Gabr was appointed head of the Supreme Council of the population for four years, and served as Minister of Health in Egypt in 1978-1982. In 1982 he was elected chairman of the National Committee for Nutrition and remained in this post until his death. He was a member of parliament for three years from 1984, during which time he was appointed head of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Cairo from 1986 to 1989.

On the international stage, Professor Gabr assumed the presidency of the African Medical Organization (1983- 1984), and served as president of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (1985-1989). He was elected president of the International Federation of Pediatrics (1992- 1995), and as president of the international Advisory Committee for Research in Geneva, the World Health Authority (1991- 1994), and Vice-President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (1997-2005).

He was a member of several Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, WHO, UNICEF, FAO and United Nations University advisory committees.

In 1991 and until his death, Professor Gabr acted as the Secretary General of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society. His contributions to the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement are countless. He played a pivotal role on the International level, fostering relationships between societies especially between Middle East and Africa as well as strongly empowering the youth and volunteers at national and regional levels.

Professor Gabr was elected in 1999 president of the International Conference of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and was a board member for several years. He brought HIV to the attention of the IFRC and he was key in the bringing Magen David Adom  and Palestine Red Crescent National Societies into the Movement.

On International Volunteer Day in 2010, he said: “The International Volunteer Day is a celebration and a tribute to our volunteers in recognition of what they offer to the people of Egypt and their efforts in the face of the challenges of the humanitarian work. They are simply the backbone of our work.”

Professor Gabr has received numerous awards, the latest in April 2014 by the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization, which awarded him the ‘Abu Bakr Al-Siddique Medal’, in recognition of his tireless effort in supporting humanity, and in appreciation of his distinguished role in alleviating the suffering of the most vulnerable. His Royal Highness the Prince Abdullah bin Faisal Al Saoud, the general director of the international affairs and relief Department at the Saudi Red Crescent Authority delivered the medal to Professor Gabr.

With his death, the Movement has lost a great model. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies expresses its support and condolences to the Egyptian Red Crescent Society and the family of Professor Gabr.

Main Awards:
National Prize of Science, Egypt (1961); 
Bearer of the Order of Science First Degree, Egypt (1961); 
Bearer of the High Order of the Republic First Degree, Egypt (1980); 
Bearer of the High Order of the Sacred Treasure, Japan (1986); WHO Shousha Prize (1997). He published four monographs and 150 publications on food and nutrition, child health, health and food ethics.