Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) will observe the 24th year of founding anniversary on April 30. In this joyous occasion I would like to pay heartfelt respect to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Had he not been born, we would not have got an independent state like Bangladesh. I also tender my gratitude to Bangabandhu’s daughter and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The country’s first ever medical university, established by the sole endeavor of The Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already turned into a centre of excellence. It is locally and internationally acclaimed for its healthcare service, research and academic activities.
Establishment of IPGM & R and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University: Founded in December 1965, IPGM & R received all logistic support from Bangabandhu for conducting research in the health sector. He hiked seat numbers from 300 to 500 of this hospital. Despite economic hardship, he took various steps to bring revolutionary change in the realm of medical research. The then IPGM & R had 300 seat capacity. It was conducting post-graduation medical study at Dhaka Medical College premises. Later, it was shifted to the present campus in Shahbagh of the capital.On October 8, 1972, Bangabandhu inaugurated central Blood Transfusion department in IPGM & R.
Awami League formed government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina following landslide victory in the parliamentary polls in 1996. Within two years, IPGM & R turned into a full-fledged medical university. On April 30, 1998, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina established Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
The demand made by doctor society for three decades was implemented due to her sincere initiative. The university ushered in a new horizon of medical education and healthcare services. It is the last resort for the treatment of the people of the country. BSMMU is not only the highest seat of medical education and hospital in Bangladesh but also in the subcontinent. It is a unique name of medical education, treatment and research.
The milestone organisation has achieved tremendous success in imparting higher study, promoting quality of medical education, doing administrative activities, organising cultural events, dealing historical preservation and monitoring various projects and institutes, evaluating those and giving nod.
Currently, BSMMU has 56 departments. Its bed capacity including corona unit in Betar Bhaban is 2,000. Half of the beds are allocated for poor who avail themselves of the treatment opportunity for free.
Prior to Covid-19 pandemic, 8,000 patients used to receive treatment from general outdoor in the first half of the day and 1,000 from specialised outdoor in the afternoon daily. Amid corona prevalence, 5,000 patients are receiving treatment in the outdoor regularly. The hospital is available with all test facilities, including radiotherapy, PET scan, MRI, CT scan and tissue biopsy. Quality of the tests at BSMMU is higher but cost is lower compared to many other hospitals. After taking power in 2009, Awami League-led alliance government took all-out initiative to take BSMMU to a new height.The BSMMU administration is working heart and soul to keep pace of its development with 4,500 manpower.
Special Services marking birth centenary of Bangabandhu: BSMMU came up with elaborate programme to observe birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. It formed Bangabandhu birth centenary observation committee. A watch bearing logo of Mujib Soto Borsho was unveiled to countdown the birth centenary. The programme included surgery, specialised treatment facility for free, blood donation and tree plantation. Bangabandhu corners were established at general obstetrics and gynecology department, university fistula centre and classroom, skill lab, IT and multipurpose room and central library. The university has taken step to construct Bangabandhu sculpture in the campus and renovate Bangabandhu mural in the B-Block. The committee concerned has already approved a model of the sculpture.
Medical Education: The IPGM and R had set out with seven courses. Currently, BSMMU is equipped with 98 post-graduation courses including MD, MS, MPH, MPhil and diploma on various branches of medical science. Of those, 63 are residency courses. A number of 44 medical colleges and institutes are affiliated with BSMMU. There are 56 departments under seven faculties in the university. The campus is infested with 4,000 post-graduation students apart from 800 new entrants.
Students at home and abroad are perusing higher study in the BSMMU. Hailing from Nepal, India, Somalia, Iran, Canada, Maldives, Australia and Bhutan are taking part in the courses, alongside local students.
Medical workshops: Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University observes the Research Day every year. Around 400 teachers and students are entitled to research grants annually. The teachers and talented students of the university complete 300 researches per year. BSMMU authorities have signed MoUs with Imperial College of London, Tata Memorial Centre of Mumbai, University of Zurich at Switzerland, Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance, WHO, Rockefeller Foundation, Nagoya University at Japan and other institutions at home and abroad. The process to team up with more organisations is in motion.
Services during Covid-19 pandemic: Following the footsteps of Bangabandhu, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken pragmatic steps to combat Covid-19 pandemic. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University responded instantly to her directives, establishing Corona Centre at the Cabin Block, admitting Covid infected patients and providing treatment.
To expand corona treatment capacity, BSMMU set up a new corona unit in the Betar Bhaban. Besides, a 10-beded ICU has been launched for the non-Covid patients.
The country’s renowned medical university has been providing comprehensive treatment for all diseases, including corona infection. It is not lagging behind in terms of Covid vaccination. A total of 54,564 people took first dose of vaccine and 20,930 second dose from the BSMMU till April 25. Besides, 1,35,541 people underwent Covid test at the PCR lab at the Betar Bhaban. As many as 92,034 persons got treatment from the Fever Clinic at Betar Bhaban while 8,305 from the Corona Unit during the time under review.
Totally 4,693 corona patients were admitted to the university hospital and 3,895 returned home after recovery.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University is the first to have established Post-Covid Follow-Up Clinic in the country. The Fever Clinic and Coronavirus Laboratory are providing patients with online service amid pandemic. The authorities have ensured online appointment to half of the outdoor patients to reduce crowd, suffering and chances of corona infection. Introducing telemedicine, BSMMU has formed “Helpline” and “Specialised Health Line” for providing general and specialised treatments respectively. Medicine, surgery and respiratory medicine are among the departments to have participated in the Helpline. Providing services in the outdoor and admission of the patients goes on unabated. The university is conducting orientation and view exchange programmes to encourage physicians and medical staffs to give impetus to corona treatment activities.
Number of treatment, surgery recipients: Over 20 lakh patients receive treatment from the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University per year. Annual number of the patients admitted to the hospital is 40,000 plus. Besides, more than 50,000 patients undergo minor and major operations.
Significant activities and success stories: Establishment of Super Specialised Hospital, Institute of Paediatric Neurodisorder and Autism (IPNA), Cochlear Implant Programme, child care and education, modern ICU, NICU, OT Complex, linear accelerator machine, freedom fighters’ cell and centre for excellence are a few to be mentioned as success stories of the university.
Consequently, I would like to reiterate my gratitude to Bangabandhu for reshaping the country’s healthcare system and medical research. We owe a lot to Bangabandhu for unprecedented development in the healthcare sector. His contribution to this sector is memorable and perpetual.
It is our onus to be imbued with the spirit of Bangabandhu and guided by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to push treatment, education and research in the BSMMU forward. It should be our promise on the 24th founding anniversary of the university.
The writer is a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Respiratory Medicine & Treasurer, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.