Soliman Azmy was born in Cairo. He graduated at Cairo Medical School in 1905 and acted as a house officer at the Kasr El-Aini Hospital. He was then appointed medical officer in the general hospitals of the Public Health Ministry of Egypt in different provinces, including Suez and the Oases of Sewa in the Western Desert. Noted for his capacity and excellent character, he was selected as a lecturer in internal medicine at the Cairo Medical School on November 14, 1918, and continued as a member of the teaching staff of this school, which became a faculty of the Egyptian University in 1925, till the end of his academic life. He was awarded scholarships in England and France to specialise in internal medicine for three years during which he obtained the DTMH (London).
He was a studious, outstanding scholar and physician. He spoke English, French, and German on top of his native Arabic language. This helped him to follow medical literature and research all over the medical world. He was elected Professor of Internal Medicine in 1927 and soon became head of the medical department of the faculty. He was then chosen for the professorship of the postgraduate section in 1939 and he tried to establish special sections for different clinical subjects: pulmonary, cardiovascular disease, neurology, psychology and physiotherapy. He was elected Dean of the Cairo Medical Faculty in 1940, which he held till 1946 when he was awarded the Chair of Emeritus Professor of medicine. He was appointed Minister for Public Health in 1946 and continued in that post for two years during which he established a policy of developing social and industrial medicine and opened many centres for rural health.
Dr Azmy was an outstanding member of the Egyptian Medical Society from its foundation in 1919 and soon became the Vice-President, and then President from 1944 till his death in 1966. At one time or another he was President or Chairman of the Egyptian Society for the History of Medicine, Egyptian Society of Cardiology, Egyptian Society of Gastroenterology, the Egyptian Red Crescent (Red Cross) Society, the Egyptian Hospitals Society, the Medical Committee of the Arab League, and the Society for Islamic Scientific Studies. He wrote a book, in four volumes, which he called On the outskirts of medicine, published in 1946 in Arabic, which dealt with many common problems; e.g. methods of maintaining good health and avoiding disease, nutrition and malnutrition, heredity, geriatrics, and psychological health problems.
In acknowledgement of his great talents and activities he was awarded the State Prize and Gold Medal for medical sciences by the Egyptian President in 1962.
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme