Jasim Al-Ghareeb presents a memento to Information Minister Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah
Jasim Al-Ghareeb presents a memento to Information Minister Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah

KUWAIT: On the occasion of the 100th anniversary since building the first hospital in Kuwait’s history, a documentary was released on the American Hospital, otherwise known as ‘Americani’ hospital. This documentary was screened on Tuesday at the Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyyah, the Americani Cultural Center, and was attended by the Minister of Information Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah and other officials. Also in the event, the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL) awarded those who worked on this documentary. This documentary was produced by the Arab Information Center and was screened in cooperation with the NCCAL. Jasim Al-Ghareeb, the author of this documentary gave a short speech about the idea of the documentary. “Through this documentary we aimed to appreciate the efforts and services of those who served in this hospital and saved the lives of hundreds of people during the first half of last century. It’s an hour-long docudrama narrating the stories that took place in this hospital,” Ghareeb said during the event.

The Americani Hospital, which is now a historical building and cultural center lying on the seaside, has great value for the Kuwaitis and served them from 1914 till 1967. “This hospital was the first concrete building in Kuwait and a gate to the modern medicine in Kuwait, although it was originally built for missionary purpose. This docudrama answers the question why this hospital continued working although it failed in realizing its Christian missionary mission. It also speaks about how the Kuwaiti doctors and pharmacists were working with their American and local counterparts regardless of cultural and religious differences,” Ghareeb said.

Digital technology This docudrama was shot with the cinema digital technology to give it high quality and to make it suitable to be shown anywhere. It also includes some old documentary scenes to give credibility. Also the scenes were shot as if it were shot during the past century through used cameras, technologies and direction, so the audience will live the feeling of its history. Producing this docudrama took huge efforts. “To shoot this movie I built an imitation of the hospital. I also made long research in old documents and photos to get the correct outfits and accessories, from which some were antiques. Also I bought some of the medical tools such as the dentist’s chair, operations’ room and the Xray machine from auctions held in different countries. And whatever wasn’t found in these auctions were made locally,” he said. “When the government preserves this building, it expresses the loyalty to humanitarian work, far from politics, and addresses the humanitarian message that Kuwait is the center of humanity and supports it,” concluded Ghareeb. This documentary included recordings of interviews made in the past with the real personalities from that time or their family members. The Americani Hospital provided great services for Kuwaitis. It was in this hospital where the injured soldiers in Al-Jahra and Al-Riqqa Battles were treated. Also many diseases and epidemics were treated there, including the serious epidemic of smallpox in 1930 where it was treated by American missionary members, including Drs Miller, Beneath, Eleanor (Khatoon Halima), Iskandar and others who followed them.

By Nawara Fattahova