Book Review:

“The Route of Malek”

Compiled by: Zahra Ghasemi
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


Hossein Malek Afzali, one of the greats of Iran's health field, was born in 1939 in Ardakan, Yazd. During his childhood years, he and his family migrated to Tehran and then to Qom. At the end of the 6th grade, despite his father's opposition, with the support of his mother and relatives, he studied in high school and then entered the medical school of Tehran University.

The book "The Route of Malek" is the biography of Dr. Malek Afzali. This is one of the series of books published by Mirmah publishing house in the field of doctors' activities. This publication was launched in 2002 by a group of doctors and has published documentary stories of the lives of a number of doctors with the support of the National Elite Foundation. According to what is mentioned in the preface, the purpose of this book is to honor the elders and elites and revive the scientific identity, which seems to be successful in this matter.

Dr. Malek Afzali received a diploma in natural sciences in 1958 and continued his studies in the medical field of Tehran University. The narrative of his life shows that he has been hardworking since childhood, and upon entering university, he started teaching to finance his expenses. The description of how the university operates, hospitals affiliated to the university and professors, provides a good picture of the university environment and its effect can be seen in the later years of Hossein Malek Afzali's life. All the narratives show his sense of responsibility and commitment towards the society.

In 1961, Hossein Malek Afzali married Ms. Elsadat Mirfasihi, and the fruit of this marriage is three daughters. Regarding their life together, the words of his wife have helped the original text in several places and made it more expressive.

In 1965, Malek Afzali graduated from the university and went to Chermahin village as a health corpsman for military service. "The better the score, the better provinces we got. The health corps on Shah street informed me that I am the health corps of Chermahin village with a population of 6,000 people. This is the official start of the doctor's work. In the village, he is the source of important measures such as building a bath and clinic, and after the end of his military service, he goes to Sanandaj as a health director. Responsibility, commitment and hard work are evident in the narration of the doctor's life. In Sanandaj, he worked day and night to fulfill the responsibility he had assumed; "Twenty days of the month, I used to visit all the villages. We had a car Land Rover; I would get on and start walking. When I arrived at the clinic, I used to take present and absent. I used to see their records and reports and control their medicines..."

After about three years of effort in Sanandaj, he returned to Tehran and succeeded in obtaining expertise in the field of MPH (Higher Diploma in Public Health); In this course, they were taught the skills of working with the community. According to the doctor's expertise, in 1975 he became an assistant professor at the Department of Vital Statistics, Faculty of Health, and University of Tehran. One of his concerns in this period is population control. With the spread of public health, death is less common among children and the rate of population growth has greatly increased. In the same situation, in 1356 he managed to get a scholarship from the World Health Organization and went to UCLA University in America and returned to Iran in the summer of 1978. In the period after the Islamic revolution, the doctor continues his activities and researches. He is successful in the positions he has held, as in the past, by using knowledge, commitment, ethics and responsibility: Assistant Professor of Tehran College in 1978, Head of the Faculty of Health in 1983, Deputy Minister of Health in 1984, Deputy Minister of Health in the health network expansion headquarters, presenting The health liaison plan and its implementation, during a specialized course at YSC University for the training of ethically, socially and scientifically skilled doctors in 1991, advisor to the Minister of Health in 1993, the implementation of the health network in Mississippi, the research assistant of the Ministry of Health, presenting the health problems plan With Dr. Sheikh Al-Islami, cooperation with Tehran municipality in the implementation of the health justice assessment plan in the city in the 80s, teaching at the university in the 90s, starting the Mazdak project, presenting the mental health plan for pregnant women, cooperation with the Academy of Medical Sciences. About these days, he says: "I had many plans and dreams in my mind for Iran and its progress. But sometimes there were obstacles that discouraged me. I am mostly at home these days. I stay with Matty [the narrator's wife] and help him with the housework. "I want to make up for all the sixty years of our life together that I have not been with him."

Marzieh Nazarlou, the author of the book, mentioned in the introduction that this text is the result of many hours of conversation. In order to complete the interviews of Dr. Malek Afzali, in addition to his wife, discussions were also held with the ministers of health at the time. In compiling the text of the interview, the author has removed the questions and arranged Dr. Malek Afzali's narrative in the form of a long text without chapters. The preface does not provide detailed information about the interviews, but what is obtained is a coherent and readable account of Dr. Malek Afzali's life.

The book has an index and the appendices at the end of the book give a clearer picture of some memories.

The book "The Route of Malek" was published in 2021 in the cut of medium octavo format and with a volume of 168 pages.

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