Monday, 6 February, 2023
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Victory Day— An Unforgettable Day of Bravery and Heroism

Prof. Dr. Md. Sharfuddin Ahmed

Victory Day— An Unforgettable Day of Bravery and Heroism
Prof. Dr. Md. Sharfuddin Ahmed

December 16, 2022, is the 51st Victory Day of Independent Bangladesh that comes at the cost of bloodshed of millions of people. Had the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman not been born, we would not have got an independent Bangladesh. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, daughter of the Father of the Nation, has been recognized as a role model of development all over the world today. The dream of the Padma Bridge is a reality today. Metro rail, electricity, food, information technology and the establishment of a developed and prosperous Bangladesh are some significant achievements of the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Therefore, this year's Victory Day is much more significant than that in the past.

December is the month of victory in Bangladesh. Because on the 16th of this month, the final victory of our freedom struggle was achieved and an independent state named Bangladesh emerged.

We have gone through many ups and downs for 51 long years. Bangladesh has transitioned from a least developed country to a developing country. The United Nations Committee on Economic and Social Development Policy officially declared Bangladesh qualified to transition to a developing country. This has been possible due to the courageous and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. As a result of her bold and dynamic development strategy, the overall economic growth has brought Bangladesh on the path of rapid development through structural transformation and significant social progress.

December 16 is an unforgettable day of bravery and heroism. This day reminds the nation of pools of blood, corpses, wars, and thus the great freedom was achieved. On that day, the joy of victory spread in the lives of all the Bangladeshis. That much-desired day was seen at the end of a long struggle. December 16, 1971, was the day of victory for millions of martyrs. The final victory comes on this day of 9 months of bloody armed struggle.

The new state of Bangladesh emerged on the map of the world. Our freedom is the result of the sacrifice of countless people. We remember the martyrs of the War of Liberation with deep respect, we remember the women who were subjected to terrible torture. On this day, we will remember those who sacrificed their lives at various stages of the language movement to the freedom movement. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman successfully led the struggle for the establishment of an independent state and for the socio-economic and political rights of the people of this country. He inspired millions of people with the spells of freedom. He was accompanied by a group of political leaders with the same goal. The brave soldiers of the then East Bengal Regiment came forward to conduct the Great War of Liberation. People of different classes and professions took part in the war.

The verdict of the trial of the top killers of 1971 has been executed. Besides, there is a demand to ban the organization of war criminals and communal politics. The nation will celebrate the day today with a different feeling. The journey of independent Bangladesh started with a dream. It is not a very long time in the context of history, but not at all short for the development-progress of a nation. Naturally, the question arises, how much of the goal and ideology with which we fought the Liberation War has been achieved?

The main aspiration of independent was freedom from all forms of subjugation and the establishment of democracy, justice, and equality in society. In order to ensure the basic needs and human rights of all citizens, nationalism, democracy, socialism, and secularism were adopted as the basic principles in the Constitution of 1972. But it is a matter of great regret that we could not stand there. One-party rule or military rule has repeatedly hampered our progress. We have not been able to integrate the parliamentary system established after the mass upsurge of the 1990s. Although we have come a long way in socioeconomic indicators including agriculture, education, and health, we have failed to achieve political stability.

Sheikh Hasina's government has maintained the continuity of development.  Padma Bridge, is visible in front of the entire nation. But there are many works that remain behind the eyes of the people whose benefits people are getting. People do not know the reason for this opportunity properly, nor do they try to know.

One such area is the health sector. The average life expectancy of people has increased to about 73 years. The maternal mortality rate has decreased, and the infant mortality rate has decreased. Everyone in the national and international arena recognizes that this achievement is commendable with limited resources and a huge population. Bangladesh's health sector has received 16 international awards and honors, including three United Nations Awards, for this achievement of the health sector. Among them, MDG Award, and South-South Award are especially notable. The formulation of the National Health Policy is a remarkable achievement of this government. The development of the pharmaceutical industry in Bangladesh can be mentioned with pride. Today, medicines produced from Bangladesh's are being exported to 147 countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, to meet the demand of their own country.

Ensuring healthcare for this huge population is not easy at all. Many people compare our medical system with the medical system abroad. They do not keep in mind our country's population and financial capacity; doctor-patient and doctor-nurse proportion rate. One of the steps in the health sector of the present government is the establishment of community clinics. After coming to power for the first time in 1996, the Sheikh Hasina government took up this Community Clinic Project, and about ten thousand clinics were set up. 

When the BNP government came to power in 2001, it stopped people-friendly humanitarian initiatives like Community Clinics only for political rivalry. At present, there are about 18,500 community clinics in the country; a wide range of healthcare activities is being conducted across the country through community clinics. According to various online surveys and BBS data, more than 90 percent of the customers of the community clinics expressed satisfaction with their services and facilities. In addition to increasing the number of beds in Upazila and district-level hospitals, facilities have been increased. Various specialized institutes and hospitals including heart, kidney, liver, cancer, neuro, eye, burn, ENT have been established, and nursing institutes have been established to meet the needs of  nurses. Work is underway to set up at least one medical college and hospital in each district.

In 51 years of victory, the country's healthcare sector has achieved commendable success. Meeting basic medical needs at a relatively low cost compared to other countries of the world, preventing, controlling, and eliminating infectious diseases, extensive initiatives in the management and prevention of non-communicable diseases, nutrition development, huge progress in health indicators, unprecedented achievements in the health infrastructure sector have taken Bangladesh a long way.

Bangladesh is already a middle-income country and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is moving ahead to developed and prosperous country by 2041. Sonar Bangla, the dream of the Father of the Nation, is going to be established in a war-torn country, which is not an easy task at all. This has been possible only under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Long-term planning, including achieving MDGs, preparation for the implementation of SDGs, education, health, gender equality, comprehensive development in agriculture, reduction of the poverty line, increase in average life expectancy, export-oriented industrialization, and creation of special economic zones, garment industry, pharmaceutical industry and the increase in various economic indicators, including the increase in export earnings are the result of the vision and hard work of the Honorable Prime Minister.  Besides, the country's mega projects including Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Payra Deep Sea Port and Dhaka Metro Rail are on the verge of completion. The Super Specialized Hospital at BSMMU is the gift of Honorable Prime Minister for the nations which is an addition of a new horizon of health service in Bangladesh after independent.  

On the clarion call of Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, let us all, irrespective of party affiliations, unitedly build a developed, happy and prosperous Bangladesh for the next generation, which will be the only way to fulfill the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to build a Sonar Bangla.

The writer is the Vice–Chancellor, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University