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Dr. Nael Al Naqeeb

A Towering Personality

There was a time when there were no specialized medical facilities for cancer treatment in Kuwait. Two men of vision recognized this gap and decided to work together to organize oncology care. Dr. Nael Ahmed Al-Naqeeb and Dr. Youssef Tewfik Omar decided to establish treatment services in Kuwait for all cancer. With a generous donation from Mr. Hussain Makki Al-Jumaa, their vision and efforts were realized.

The dream came true in October 1982 when the cancer center was inaugurated by the late Emir Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah. This center is the legacy of these men of vision. The late Dr. Nael Al-Naqeeb was a former Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Health and a senior oncology surgeon. The late Dr. Youssef Omar was a radiation and medical oncologist, and the father of Oncology in Kuwait.

 

 Dr. Al-Naqeeb graduated from the School of Medicine of Baghdad University in 1962, and was appointed to the Ministry of Health in 1963. In 1969, Kuwait University sponsored him to receive his higher education in England. He obtained his FRCS and specialized in head and neck cancer and general cancer surgery. He also attended courses at Harvard University.

On return to Kuwait, he joined the Al Amiri Hospital as chairman of the surgical department and was then appointed as Assistant Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and then promoted to be Undersecretary.

Dr. Al-Naqeeb was one of the pioneers in cancer surgery, marked by his commitment and devotion to work by offering consultancies even on Fridays. He effectively balanced his career as both surgeon and Undersecretary, and played a key role in the radiotherapy department at Al Sabah Hospital before setting up the Hussain Makki Jumaa Centre.

He received a British Fellowship in 1965. When he returned home, he laid the scientific basis for cancer care and established in collaboration with Dr. Omar the first cancer patient registry in Kuwait in 1974.

In 1982, when the Hussain Makki Jumaa Center was inaugurated, Dr. Al-Naqeeb played a key role in making it the most developed center for surgery, radiation therapy and medical oncology by meeting all the requirements for cancer patients and oncologists. The features included a Tumor Pathology Laboratory, an Immunohistochemistry Laboratory the first of its kind in the Middle East, a Tumor Biology Laboratory, a Flow - Cytometry Laboratory and a Radiotherapy Department equipped with the latest technology.

Dr. Al-Naqeeb also focused on training Kuwaiti doctors and insisted that Kuwaiti doctors must earn international qualifications. The guide and mentor of Kuwaiti surgeons, often referred to as the 'father of cancer surgery in Kuwait', set a perfect example for others, as a devoted doctor and humanitarian. He passed away on January 31, 2004.
May his soul rest in peace.

 

In their own words...

A family tribute to the late Dr. Nael Al-Naqeeb - by his daughter Lamees Nael Al-Naqeeb

(On behalf of Dr. Nael Al-Naqeeb's family: his wife Souad Al-Refaie and his children Dr. Huthail and Reham Nael Al-Naqeeb)

Baba, Babati and Jiddo (Grandfather) those are the names we loved to call my beloved father as they were the closest to our hearts and to his.
Dr. Nael Al-Naqeeb was no ordinary man nor was he an ordinary father and never ever will he be regarded as an ordinary doctor! He was a loving and caring father who was a role model to his children and to all those around him.

To his family he is a legend and to his patients he was their savior whom, with God's will, gave them a second chance to live. "We will always remember your father in our prayers." That's what his patients would always tell us.

To his fellow doctors he was The Godfather of Surgeons. With his scary tantrums and terrifying shouts when the operating room was not well prepared! Or when his patients were not well looked after or when one of his children (mostly me!) did something wrong.

The funny part was it took Baba just 60 seconds maximum to cool down and laugh it off. He had the kindest heart that was big enough for Mama, big enough for his three children, and two more special people: his grandchildren and his patients.

Dr. Nael Al-Naqeeb passed away seven years ago but he is still alive in our hearts, our souls and in our actions.
He taught us self-respect, pushed us to fight for what we believed in, and to never lose faith. He taught us how to enjoy life and, most of all, how to love.
Words will never do him justice because to us Baba is the legendary Dr. Nael Al-Naqeeb.

May he rest in peace.

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