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24 January, 2016 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 23 January, 2016 08:51:21 PM
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Remembering National Professor Dr. Nurul Islam

National professor Dr. Nurul Islam played a key-role in formulating Bangladesh National Drug Policy 1982 that was an epoch-making event in the health sector and was acclaimed all over the world
M.A.Jabbar
Remembering National Professor Dr. Nurul Islam
National Professor Dr. Nurul Islam

The third death anniversary of National Professor Dr. Nurul Islam on 24th January again reminds us that the country had lost a great man who contributed significantly towards the development of medical science in the country. He had been the founder and director of the Institute of Postgraduate Medicine Research (IPGMR) now Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) and was named as its founding father for his contribution for making the institution worth international repute. 
He was decorated with the highest national award the Independence award. As personal physician to the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the visionary professor had the unique opportunity to see Bangabandhu from very close quarters. His book “Bangabandhu : In the Eye of his Personal Physician” is a historical compilation reflecting on various events projecting Bangabandhu; as a man, a family member, an administrator and as one with unlimited courage and conviction which led him to the ultimate victory, giving  birth to a nation, an independent sovereign Bangladesh.
His social movement– by establishing ADHUNIK in 1987– against tobacco and smoking was recognised throughout the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) crowned him with commemorative medal worth of international repute for making tobacco free societies in 1991 and 192. He received WHO Director General’s Special award for his works against smoking and tobacco. Health Ministry of the Bangladesh Government duly recogniaed his contribution in the field of movement against tobacco and smoking.  
By establishing University of Science and Technology Chittagong (USTC) he created a great scope for expansion of medical studies in the country. I had the unique opportunity of working with him closely. I saw that he had to pass through a very difficult time during the early stage of the USTC. But he had the unique quality of solving problem with determination. Remembering one such example, National Professor M. R. Khan in a condolence meeting at BSMMU after his death said that Professor Islam  was a man of such strong determination that once his students of postgraduate medical education started movement to defer examination. Professor Islam told with a stern attitude that you could change the post of director but not the schedule of examination. At last, the examination was held in time. He never felt tired working for long time. He used to say that a person who gets pleasure from work can never become tired no matter how hard he worked. 
His visionary thoughts significantly contributed towards the growth and development of postgraduate medical education in the country. As such, we are proud of having many medical experts in the country. He was well known for prescribing only essential and limited number of medicines and sometime no medicine for the patients.
Born on 01 April, 1928 at the village of Chandanaish in Chittagong, he was a meritorious student from the school life. After completion of his secondary education from Gasbaria N.G.M. High School, Chandanaish, Chitta­gong in 1943 he completed I.Sc. from Calcutta Islamia Science College and thereafter completed medical graduation from Calcutta Medical College. Thereafter he completed MRCP in 1954 with the government scholarship and completed TDD in 1955 from Wales Univesity, London. Returning home he joined Mitford Hospital and then Dhaka Medical College as associate professor in 1958 and Chittagong Medical College as professor in 1962. He got Nuffield scholarship in 1963 and worked as visiting professor in London and returned home in 1964. He joined PG institute as Joint Director in 1965 and became director of the Institute in 1966 and had been there as director and professor of medicine for 24 years. 
He was not only a renowned physicians but also an organizer and social reformer as well. He founded Islamic Medical Mission, Janasheba Foundation, ADHUNIK and closely associated with Hamdard Bangladesh and became the Chairman of the organisation. 
He played a key-role in formulating Bangladesh National Drug Policy 1982 that was an epoch-making event in the health sector and was acclaimed all over the world including the WHO. In that drug policy, procedure for price fixation was clearly defined like purchase of raw materials through worldwide tender, collecting competitive prices from authoritative sources recognized by the WHO, and ensuring producing of packing materials locally. It also imposed restrictions on multinationals not to produce unnecessary and fashionable items for their own benefits and thus protected the interest of the poor consumers. The policy contributed towards expansion of local pharmaceutical industry and thereby import of unnecessary medicines was stopped. As a result, fulfilling local demand it helped export of medicines to other countries and thus created opportunity for earning foreign currency. Moreover, employment opportunity was also generated due to expansion of local pharmaceutical industry. 
As an educationist, medical scientist, social worker, researcher and anti-tobacco leaser Prof Islam has been awarded many Medals and Commemorative Certificates. Some are : President’s Gold Medal (1963); Gold Medal-Bangldesh Academy of Sciences (1982); Daymi Award for Religion and Social work (1986); Rangdhanu Academy Award (1977); WHO Commemorative Medal worthy of international recognition for tobacco control in 1990 & 1992; Ibn Sina Medal (1995); Gold Medal-RCP Edin (1999); Social Service Award by the Govt of Bangladesh (2002); Hussain Shahid Suhrawardi Award for tobacco-free society (2003); Bangla Academy Award (2003); Dr BC Roy Gold Medal and Chikitsa Ratna’ Award for Medical Science, Kolkata (2003); Enriching Communal Harmony & Human Rights Award, Kolkata University, India (2004); WHO, DG’s Special Award for outstanding work in the field of tobacco control in the South-East Asia Region (2005); Prime Minister’s National Science Writers’ Award (2005); Marie Curie Awar4d for Medical Science (2006).
He will remain alive for his innumerable books and publications. 
He could earn love and respect of the people of the country for his patriotism, amiable nature and love of fellow-men. His physical presence is no more but his works will survive.  He was an expert administrator, social reformer, medical scientist, renowned physician, and a great teacher. His punctuality and discipline, love and respect for mother will remain as role model for our generation. Prof. Nurul Islam was the pioneer of the expansion of medical studies in Bangladesh and tireless social worker and his death was an irreparable loss for the nation. We pray for his departed soul.

The writer is a banker and former PS to National Professor Dr. Nurul Islam

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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