Message from the Founder President:
As an avid fighter for the rights of the underprivileged and a staunch supporter of health care for all, you know first hand the importance and need for quality and affordable medical care. I too understand this all to well. For five decades, I have served as a medical doctor and as a teaching hospital dean in the impoverished nation of Bangladesh, a location where many of your most loyal constituents hail from. But unlike the United States which has the luxury to spend 16.2% of its Gross Domestic Product on medical care, possesses 2.672 physicians and 3.1 hospital beds per 1,000 people, Bangladesh can only afford to spend 3.4% of its GDP on medical care and possesses a mere 0.295 physicians and 0.4 hospital beds per 1,000 people.
The International Diabetes Federation states that low and middle income countries such as Bangladesh bear the greatest burden of the diabetes epidemic. 8.4 million Bangladeshis are confirmed to suffer from diabetes. Combine these startling numbers with the fact that Bangladesh has nearly half the population of the United States which is crammed into a nation the size of New York State, and the situation becomes overwhelming at an alarming rate. In fact, the dire situation is more or less the same annually. However, there is a simple solution that can help alleviate this matter rather quickly.
I am the president and chief medical consultant for the Sylhet Diabetic Hospital, situated in Sylhet, Bangladesh, the northeastern portion of the country. The hospital is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 with a registration of 26,000 patients and serves half a million patients. Many of whom come from the countryside and other nearby hospitals to be treated here because of the sophistication of the equipment. In fact, individuals from neighboring countries have also been treated here and praise the quality of service. But service can only go so far without adequate equipment and the basic equipment of hospital beds, which there is a dire and urgent need for.
In the beginning construction of the hospital was completed by the government of Bangladesh. But since then, the hospital has run and purchased equipment through charitable donations and the contributions of the medical team's own resources. But our resources cannot cover the growing, overwhelming need for kidney dialysis, eye surgery, coronary and intensive care units. Nor can the staff and our generous donors combined efforts cover the urgent need for additional room and expansion of the hospital. However, there is a silver lining.
Enter USAID, DFID, ORIO, KOICA, JICA, CIDA, and others – for International Development. The foreign donors provide Bangladesh funding for healthcare projects. Of this funding, I am requesting $6 million be allocated to expanding Sylhet Diabetic Hospital. $1 million of the funds can be utilized immediately and in a short six months can complete phase one of the expansion plan, including the establishment of a dedicated neurology, expand ophthalmology, pediatric, ENT, gastroenterology and hepatology, and neonatal intensive care units. Further technical assistance is also required from US doctors and nurses who can help train the staff. Then in phase two of expansion the remaining $5 million can be utilized to build an additional six story building, which will help double the hospital capacity and provide much needed bed and hospital wings catering to specific needs such as coronary or intensive care. This phase will require two years and the funds will cover the construction of this critically needed expansion.
I am in a unique position to see this work through. I am not only the hospital's president, but have also witnessed countless scores ravaged by diabetes. I have had several older siblings and other family members, younger than me, die prematurely because of complications of this disease. I too am afflicted and am suffering with the partial loss of my eyesight. And though diabetes can take my eyes, it cannot take away my vision. A vision of an expanded medical care facility better equipped to serve the impoverished people of Bangladesh.
For further information about the Sylhet Diabetic Hospital please visit: www.sdhbd.org.
Prof. M. A. Raquib
Sylhet Diabetic Association and Hospital