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Our History

Magdi Yacoub spent the early part of his life following his father, also a surgeon, around to different parts of Egypt – driven by the needs of different communities and requests from the government. Of all the places he went as a boy, Aswan was special to him for the unique diversity, beauty and culture he saw there. 

While this impression lasted for him into his adult years, he had not necessarily been struck by the profound medical need until later in his life. As a young surgeon, he met children and families from Aswan who traveled long distances to receive care. They were in greater need, distress and desperation than many of his other patients. In simple terms, they were dying.

In 2009, Prof. Sir Magdi Yacoub launched the Aswan Heart Centre to reach the most vulnerable people in Egypt. While today we look forward to an exciting new chapter with a second, expanded campus in Cairo, Magdi Yacoub’s vision of medical excellence in the Middle East and Africa was born in Aswan. The spirit that animated him then continues to define our work and inspire individuals from around the world to strive for a brighter, healthier future.

More than providing for the immediate care needs of the surrounding community, Magdi Yacoub thought about the future – first for his patients, who would have a new opportunity for a healthy, happy life; second for the health care system more broadly, which needed to be staffed by qualified experts for superior patient service; and third for the possibilities of science, as research and discovery improve our understanding of diagnosis, care and treatment. 

This influenced the direction Magdi Yacoub sought to go in the future, thinking about the challenges of care delivery and having a lasting impact that went beyond one-off interventions to provide consistent, excellent and accessible medical care. He could think of no place more in need and more important to bring medical expertise to than Aswan – first for the impact it would have on the immediate surrounding community, and second for advancing its historical position as a gateway to the rest of Africa, elevating its potential as a location to reach even further into places of need throughout the continent.

Today, the city has 1.5 million residents, but they are no longer underserved as they were in the past – and, together with generous Egyptians, both rich and poor, and a global network of supporters that stretches to the United States, we will ensure that they will never go back to being underserved again.

For our next chapter, Magdi Yacoub asked how the impact of our work could be scaled and extended to even greater effect for people in need. Learn more about our expansion to Cairo, and how the new Global Heart Centre will open new opportunities to change the lives of patients.

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