Association of Medical Doctors of ASIA, founded in 1984, Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC since 1995









Visit to AMDA Bangladesh (1): JBFH and Bangladesh as a thriving economy

Publication date:2019-08-21
By Dr. Shigeru Suganami M.D., Ph.D. (President of AMDA)

At the inauguration of Japan Bangladesh
Friendship Hospital (1993)

One noteworthy-yet-surprising fact about recent Bangladesh is its robust economic development. The newly-debuted international airport is a perfect example of its yearly 8% GDP growth which exceeds that of India’s 6%. The trademark smoggy skies are no longer there and people out in the streets looked confident than ever; all of which I failed to notice in my last visit as I headed directly to Cox’s Bazar for the Rohingya relief a year ago. This time, I made my five-day trip to see my colleagues in Dhaka in late April.

The Bangladeshi government is currently planning to relocate its administrative offices to Purbachal New Town in the suburb of Dhaka from the traffic-infested city center. The urban planning for the new town tempted me to visit the site myself: Construction was still under way, but the roads were perfectly paved with power poles lined up in an orderly manner. A massive sport stadium, which China donated, is expected to complete in three to four years. In a nutshell, rezoning seemed to have been going really well.

Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital (JBFH), which AMDA Chairperson Dr. Sarder A. Nayeem serves as one of directors, has already purchased two plots of land from the government. JBFH is planning to build a 23-storey general hospital and a gerontology clinic at each location, both of which are facing the main road. Furthermore, there is also a plan to establish a large nursing home at a place not far from Purbachal. JBFH has already been running a paramedic school with the ultimate goal of establishing a university in sight.

Who would have imagined 20 years ago that a small 20-beded hospital would grow into such a large-scale operation? From the fullness of my heart, I would like to congratulate Dr. Sarder A. Nayeem, Dr. Jonaid Shafiq and Dr. Faisal A. Muazzam for making this magic happen.

When the three co-founded JBFH, the hospital became the first entity in the country’s medical sector to accept foreign investment which the government was keenly accommodating. It gained media coverage and I was privileged to stand next to the then-President Abdur Rahman Biswas at the hospital’s inaugural ceremony.

Presently, JBFH boasts 48 doctors and is expected to undergo a major renovation for expanding its outpatient capacity. It is common for Bangladeshi doctors to part ways once the business is on track. Nevertheless, the three doctors have stayed together to run the hospital to this day. (Some even called it “the miracle of Dhaka”.)
Bangladesh used to be very poor and densely populated. Back then, most of local doctors left for the West for further education and better opportunities. They used to fund their families back home from wherever they settled.

Meanwhile, the three doctors (who also founded AMDA Bangladesh) wanted to stop big money from flowing out of Bangladesh. As health spending of those who sought better medical treatment abroad was substantial, they wanted the monetary flow to be circulated within Bangladesh by offering quality medical services.

Having been known for his excellent skills in endo-laparoscopy, Dr. Nayeem attained his doctoral degree at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Medicine. Up until now, he has handled over 20,000 cases of endo-laparoscopic surgeries (which is understandable from the fact that 60 percent of operations he conducted had been cholecystectomy). Now, Dr. Nayeem is recognized as one of the leading endo-laparoscopy specialists in the Asia Pacific.

Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital(JBFH)

President Abdur Rahman Biswas (Middle)

In the early days of JBFH, each of the doctors did their morning consultation at public hospitals, and in the afternoon, they came back to work together at JBFH from 2pm until 3am. All this while, their wives took turns to prepare dinner for them. Although they worked more diligently than us Japanese who are often dubbed “workaholic”, it is fair to say that this daily routine strengthened their solidarity.

The days of youth passed in the blink of an eye and their ambition is almost fulfilled. But now, as they are about to begin their sixties journey, it is about time they should prepare passing the baton to the next generation.

    •  GPSP Multi-National Medical Mission (Peace Building)
    •  Bangladesh
    •  Myanmar
    •  2018
    •  for the Rohingya Refugees