October 1940, the house on top of the hill in Helwan became The Behman Hospital. It was the first private psychiatric hospital in Egypt. From then onward, the fifteen acres around it never stopped thriving. For thirty years, Dr. Behman created an exemplary psychiatric hospital with international accreditations and reputation.
In the 1940's it started as a 12 bed hospital by the late Dr. Benjamin Behman, who had the foresight to select a large area of land on the outskirts of Cairo to establish what was to become the first and largest private psychiatric facility in Egypt and The Middle East. In 1968, when Dr F. Loza become the director of the hospital, it had reached 110 beds, and since then has gradually enlarged to its current capacity of 250 beds.
Walk down any of its tree-lined roads and the buildings scattered in the middle of flowery gardens could be a school, nursery, a gymnasium or a villa for geriatric patients. Vast playgrounds accentuate the contrast with the crowding and pollution in the city.
Dr. Beniamin Behman was born in Assiut in 1893. He completed his training in Medicine and Surgery in 1918 in University College, London and returned to practice medicine in Egypt. He joined Abasseya Mental Hospital in 1922, and in 1940 he established a private nursing home on the hills of Helwan, which later became the Behman Hospital.
A man of foresight, he was the first to adopt an open door policy in psychiatric treatment in Egypt. For thirty five years he continued to build and enlarge the hospital in a home atmosphere while maintaining his contact with international centres of training. He was the first to introduce insulin coma therapy and later ECT in psychiatric practice in Egypt.
The hospital's dedication to training in psychiatry dates back to its early days when it was affiliated to the University of Durham as early as 1951.
Dr. Behman continued to manage the hospital until 1968 when Dr. Fathy Loza continued the family tradition of caring for individuals with psychological disturbances in this humane and caring environment.
Dr. Fathy Loza, born in Egypt in 1929, studied medicine at Ain Shams university, Cairo, where he graduated in 1953. He joined Behman Hospital as a junior resident after training for sometime at Holloway Sanatotium in Surrey, England. A few years later he took over the directorship of the hospital, having obtained on honorary F.R.C.Psych from England.
During the first years of his directorship, the hospital like all Egypt was going through important changes, social, cultural as well as political. Major transformations took place. In the end he delivered a very successful hospital of 200 beds.
He was appointed director of the WHO centre for information on psychotropic drugs in 1973.
Dr. Loza endeavoured to keep up with the newest trends in therapy, and introduced many to the hospital. He also created the first department for rehabilitation of children with special needs in Egypt.