After the government, most of the people in the country are provided health and medical services by the organizations under the Bangladesh Diabetic Association. This association was formed long before independence. After independence, the field of work of the association has increased a lot, a wide network has been formed. This association has become a place of great hope for the diabetic patients of the country.
In any district town of the country, the building or signboard of the Diabetic Association is tasted. All the district associations except Meherpur and Shariatpur are affiliated to the Bangladesh Diabetic Association located in Dhaka. In 20-22 upazilas there are organizations in the form of associations. This number is increasing day by day. The local people of the district or upazila are forming this association. Affiliated associations are not centrally controlled.
There are very few privately run social non-profit health facilities in Bangladesh. Secretary General of the association Mohammad Saif Uddin told Prothom Alo, ‘The uniqueness of the association is that no one owns it. The officers and employees of the institutions under it, those who take services here, are the owners of the association. The government has given place to the association, the building has been handed over by the government organization PWD. There are few such instances in the country.
The purpose of forming the association was to bring all the people suffering from diabetes under the service so that no one is left out of treatment. Diabetes patients are increasing in Bangladesh as well as all over the world. According to the latest Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (2016-17), there are 11 million people with diabetes in the country. This number is 26 lakh among 18-34 year olds. And 64 lakh people aged 35 years and above.
The survey found that about 80 percent of men and women are unaware that they have diabetes. Only 13 percent of diabetics know about their condition. They are receiving regular treatment and their diabetes is under control. He knows about diabetes and is also receiving treatment, but more than 22 percent of men and women do not have it under control. The disease is more prevalent in urban areas and among high-income people. The number of men and women with diabetes is almost equal. The importance of the diabetic association has also increased in this situation.
The journey of the association began
With the idea that diabetes would become a major health problem, National Professor Mohammad Ibrahim formed the Diabetic Association on February 26, 1956 with a few interested people. At the time of its establishment, it was called the Diabetic Association for Pakistan. Until July 31 of the following year, the office of the association was on the ground floor of Professor Ibrahim’s house in Segunbagicha. He later arranged for the treatment of a diabetic patient in a tin room. In the first year, 39 patients were treated. From the beginning, the association focused on research on diabetes. In 1959, the association became a member of the International Diabetic Federation.
As a non-profit service organization, it contributes to the development of government grants and individual support societies. After independence, the Bangladesh Institute of Research and Rehabilitation in Diabetes, Endocrine and Metabolic Disorder (BARDEM), an important institution of the Diabetic Association, was established on government land in the Shahbagh area of the capital. In 1982, Bardem was recognized as a partner of the World Health Organization.
Bangladesh Diabetic Association was by the side of the people
After that Bangladesh Diabetic Association has formed one organization after another. This has increased the scope of service. Many people are getting services. More than 30 percent of people with diabetes in the country receive treatment from hospitals under the association. Depending on the financial condition of the patient, there is a system of giving 75, 50 or 25 percent discount on medical expenses.
Former chairman of the National Board of Revenue Mohammad Abdul Majid told Prothom Alo, “Bangladesh Diabetic Association has done a lot of creative work in the health sector. One of them is patient registration and a book given to the patient. When the test was done, what was the treatment, what was the advice, it is written in the book. The risk of losing this book is lower than the prescription. On the other hand, with this book, treatment can be taken in any diabetic hospital of the country under the association.
The organization of the association
There are several independent organizations under the Bangladesh Diabetic Association. The oldest and largest of these is Bardem. The hospital has 618 beds. Some of these beds are for poor patients. On an average, a large portion of the 3,000 patients who come to the outpatient department of this hospital for treatment come for regular treatment. 6 lakh 64 thousand 528 patients registered in the hospital. Of these, about 1 lakh patients get free services.
The Rehabilitation and Vocational Training Center has been set up to provide employment to poor and young diabetic patients through training. The center has an engineering workshop. Another organization, the Ibrahim Cardiac Hospital and Research Center, has already gained a good reputation for treating heart disease. On the other hand, Ibrahim Medical College is one of the top medical colleges in the private sector.
Other institutions and projects of Bangladesh Diabetic Association include Bangladesh Institute of Health Sciences, Bardem Nursing College, Bangladesh University of Health Sciences, Healthcare Development Project, National Healthcare Network. A project called ‘Changing Diabetes in Children’ has been launched for disadvantaged diabetic children. Apart from this, the association has many activities to raise awareness about diabetes.
To raise awareness about diabetes, the association proposed to the World Health Organization to observe one day of the year as Diabetes Day. The World Health Organization approved the proposal and declared November 14 as World Diabetes Day. The day is now celebrated all over the world including Bangladesh.
Professor AK Azad Khan, president of the association, wrote in his book Bangladesh Diabetic Association: Path-Parikrama, ‘Now, after the government, Bangladesh Diabetic Association is the largest organization in the field of healthcare. In fact, it is now the largest non-profit healthcare provider in the world.