After returning from England in the late 1960s, I started my professional career at the 'Sylhet Medical College and Hospital' which later on was renamed as 'Sylhet M A G Osmani Medical College and Hospital'. Over the course of the next ten years I noticed Sylhet had a high number of diabetic and cardiac patients, probably the highest in Bangladesh. Genetic disposition and lifestyle play key roles for both of these two diseases. I thought about establishing a nonprofit, self-sustaining diabetic hospital and a cardiac hospital in Sylhet to tackle these two life threatening diseases and to bring awareness among people in order to reduce the risks of both diabetes and heart disease.
On December 28th 1981, we had our first informal meeting regarding 'National Heart Foundaton, Sylhet' at Late Dr Shafiqur Rahman’s house in Dorga Gate. Retired District Judge Mr Abdul Hannan chaired the meeting. Three of us formed a core team and Dr. Shafiqur Rahman was assigned to become the coordinator of the Foundation. We decided to affiliate National Heart Foundation, Sylhet with National Heart Foundation Bangladesh founded by Prof. Brig (Retd) M A Malik and follow his model.As a continuation of the activity, on February 6th 1982 another formal meeting was organized at the 'Sylhet District Auditorium'. At this meeting we formed the full committee of 'National Heart Foundation, Sylhet'. The committee made me the president and Late Dr. Nurul Hossain Chanchal its general secretary. During its infancy stage National Heart Foundation, Sylhet started to provide limited outpatient services from the second floor of a pharmacy in Shubid Bazar. Later on this outpatient service was transferred to the 'Sylhet District Hospital' but as the patient volume started to increase, we decided to use a portion of the already completed 'Sylhet Diabetic Hospital' for National Heart Foundation, Sylhet'.
In 2005, the Government of Bangladesh allocated one acre land in Shahi Edgah for National Heart Foundation, Sylhet. Within a few months we built a small structure on the land and from the 10th of May 2005 from this built structure we started our outpatient service of National Heart Foundation Hospital, Sylhet. Convinced with our work, the 'Ministry of Social Welfare' donated Taka 20 crore to expand the hospital. With this contribution from the Government of Bangladesh, donations from the local Sylhetis, other non-resident Bangladeshis living in England and contributions from Pubali Bank, we completed the first phase of the six story, 100-bedded hospital in June of 2011. The hospital started to offer full outpatient service to patients from February 1st, 2012. Since 2014, the hospital started to offer limited inpatient service. Since its inception, 'National Heart Foundation, Sylhet' has covered a lot of ground in the last two decades. Sadly, some of my colleagues and friends who had worked tirelessly did not live long enough to see the fruit of their efforts. We fondly remember them and we thank everyone who is committed to making the dream come true.
As an avid fighter for the rights of the underprivileged and a staunch supporter of health care for all, for five decades, Prof Dr. M A Raquib had served as a medical doctor and as a teaching hospital dean in the impoverished nation of Bangladesh.
Prof Dr. M A Raquib was born on November 1st, 1935, studied for Lokhonsre Sunamganj Pathshala School and Madrasa, had second stand at metric from Sunamganj school and eleventh stand at intermediate high school by MC college of Sylhet for whole Bangladesh (former East Pakistan). Murari Chand (MC) College was the first college in the Sylhet Division. It was established in 1892, making it the 7th oldest college in Bangladesh. After MBBS from Dhaka Medical College, He had completed double MRCP degrees from the United Kingdom in 1965 and had achieved a degree with one attempt. He was President Bangladesh Medical Association Sylhet and was Awarded as Gunijon at International Sylhet Summit in 2017. He passed away for eternity on January 9th, 2018.
Whole life he remembered his roots and his vision was to help both the impoverished and everybody. As founders of two hospitals - Sylhet Diabetic Hospital and National Heart Foundation Hospital Sylhet - had started from nascence and today executed and completed his vision. He was also Chairman of the Board of Directors of North East Medical College and Hospital. His contribution to the health section will be always remembered.
Late Prof. Dr. M. A. Raquib
National Heart Foundation of Sylhet