M R Khan
National Professor Muhammad Rafi Khan (popularly known as M R Khan) was the founder of a number of voluntary social development organizations viz. Shishu Sasthya Foundation, Bangladesh (SSF, B), Institute of Child Health and Shishu Hospital (ICH-SH), Mirpur, Dhaka; Satkhira Shishu Hospital, Shishu Hospital, Jessore and Vocational Training Centre (VTC), Satkhira. SSF, B is established in 1983, through which some lac women and children are getting direct services in the field of health, nutrition, education, microcredit, environmental promotion and protection. Presently, some 5,000 families are provided microcredit supports for small scale income generation activities.
ICH-SH is a 50 bedded child hospital providing out-door, indoor and diagnostic services to some 300 children every day. Satkhira Shishu Hospital and Shishu Hospital, Jessore are 30 and 10 bedded hospital, respectively with out-door and diagnostic services. VTC is providing vocational training for 90 working children each year in Electric, Turning, Carpentry, Dress-making and Light engine mechanics.
With his all pensions and gratuity fund on his retirement from public service, he established the Dr. M. R. Khan and Anwara Trust. Through this Trust, Dr. Khan used to provide assistance to different mosques, schools, hospitals and a number of destitute women in Satkhira as well as other social welfare activities.
The Trust fund has been awarding Gold Medal to the individuals for their outstanding contribution in the field of social and economic development in the country. Till date the awardees are Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank; Mr. Fazle Hasan Abed, BRAC; Ms. Velori Taylor, CRP, Ms.
Angela Gomez, Banchte Shekha, Khandker Shahidul Islam, Dr. Sultana Zaman and others. Dr. Khan established a number of educational institutions, namely Rasulpur Secondary School and Women Medical College, Uttara, Dhaka - the 1st Women Medical College in the country (established with his other colleagues). He has also established hospitals, namely Nebedita Nursing Home, Dhaka and Central Hospital, Dhaka - one of the largest and modern hospitals in private sector. Leaving all his epoch making infrastructures the National Professor breathed his last on November 5, 2016.
A visionary in the child health sector, National Prof. M. R. Khan experimented on alleviating the distress and suffering of the poor children. Prof. Khan became an idol, a Model and modest as well, as a beaming' personality with his wit and wisdom, soft and pleasant demeanor and amiable disposition.
Even at 88, Prof. M. R. Khan was agile and indefatigable. His involvement with life and society was total and he retained the angst of youth as he surveyed the rest of his idealistic dreams. One could sec in utter amazement the humility, the simplicity and optimism that Prof. M. R. Khan exhibited even at his old age. He always had enormous appetite for hard work, ability to tackle difficult issues and a gift of striking a rapport with the society at large. He was a tireless worker but was never a quiet and unhurried life as it can't he is case of a doctor a specialist.
Dr. M. R. Khan committed himself to the difficult task of ensuring physical and mental well being of this most vital groups of the society through the aegis of ICH and SSFB , with its activities gradually expanded over the whole country.
The program includes human resource development , health and nutrition with special emphasis mother and child health care (MCH) clinic service, door to door service provided to the under privileged and disadvantaged children in the evening hours without hampering their economic contribution to the family. Undeniably true Bangladesh faces enormous challenges till now in the field of child protection and childcare.
The hard reality for millions of children is that these unfortunate groups besides falling prey to diseases and malnutrition also become victims of trafficking exploitation and violence. Professor Mr. Khan had realised that changes are possible with mobilization of the society as a whole for change of attitudes and behaviors. Quality, not quantity is the new buzzword at every walks of life.
The problem of ensuring quality health care to mothers and children in the community has been an aspect of major concern in Bangladesh. This is especially so because 70 percent of the population are either children under 15 years (50%) or women of reproductive age (20%). High mortality, ill health and malnutrition in children have posed severe threat to national development. This disappointing situation is the result of' acute shortage of personnel with adequate preventive and clinical are skills. Health workers need to be skilled and committed in their works through structured training a real life.
As a physician and a social worker Professor M R Khan won numerous laurels in his eventful life,. For his outstanding contribution in the field of child health, his biography had been included in the International "WHO's who" of intellectuals by IBC Cambridge, UK in-1987. Called as father of pediatrics" and -Shishu Bandhu'" in Bangladesh, Prof. M.R. Khan was awarded Gold Medal by the Association of pediatrics, Manila,-1991 Sher-E-Bangla Jatiya Smriti Sangsad Gold Medel,1992 Kabi Nazrul Islam National Award and Gold Medel,1993, Maulana Tarkabgish Gold Medal, 2003, Maulana Bhashani Gold Medal, 1993, Bangladesh pediatrics Association Award and Gold Medel,1994, National Professor , 1995, Abu Hossain Sarkar National Award and Gold Medel-1995, Kabi Sarojini Naidu Gold Medal 1997.
Khan Bahadur Ahsanullah Gold Medal 1998, Ibne Sina Gold Medel-1999, National Social Service Gold Medal of the Ministry of Social Welfare, GOB-1999. Nabab Salimullah Gold Medal , 2006, Scholar of the Year 2007 Title offered by NRB, Ekushey Padak in Social Service, 2009 and Swadhinata Padak in 2016. Khan is the author and co-author of seven academic books on child health.
Mentionable are Apnar Shshur Jonnya Jeney Nin ( 1976), Pocket Pediatric Prescriber , (January 1982) , Essence of Endocrinology (1986), Prathomik Shikhsha (1986), Ma O Shishu (1986), Drug Therapy in Bnagladesh (1987)Essence of Padiatrics (January, 1989),
The writer is Former Secretary and Chairman of NBR, currently Chief Coordinator of the Diabeitc Association of Bangladesh
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