Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 14 February: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said many countries have expressed their interest to provide Covid-19 vaccines to Bangladesh, and the country will receive all those for ensuring vaccination up to rural level.
“We’ve procured three crore (doses) of vaccine. The Indian government has sent 20 lakh doses as a gift. Other countries are willing to provide. We’ll take all those so that we can ensure vaccination up to the rural level. We’ll take steps for that,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this while laying the foundation stone of Kumudini International Institute of Medical Sciences & Cancer Research (KIIMS CaRe) at Narayanganj. She joined the programme virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban.
The Kumudini Welfare Trust, which was founded by noted Philanthropist and businessman Ranada Prasad Shaha in June 1947, is setting up the hospital.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has already procured three crore doses of vaccine and paid in advance for that.
“We’ve made the advance payment when the research was going on and the World Health Organisation (WHO) did not give approval, but I made the advance so that we can get it early,” she said.
About the availability of vaccine for all in Bangladesh, she said there were some doubts and confusions at the initial stage among people about the vaccine.
She thanked Runu Veronica Costa, who obtained her nursing degree from Kumudini Nursing Institute, received the first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine that removed all the confusions and doubts regarding the vaccine.
“Now there’s no problem, all are coming to get the vaccine at vaccination centres with huge interest and enthusiasm,” she said.
Hasina also mentioned that the government is doing whatever necessary to face the coronavirus and the Covid-19 is now largely under control in Bangladesh for various appropriate measures of the government.
“After getting vaccine, all will have to maintain health guidelines. Then, we hope, the coronavirus pandemic will be fade away completely from the country,” she said.
Hasina also mentioned that to face the coronavirus, the government at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic appointed 2,000 doctors and 6,000 nurses and technicians.
“We’re taking further steps to appoint more (doctors and nurses, technicians) so that the people of the country can avail of medical facilities,” she said.
The Prime Minister stressed the importance of doing research works as the scope of this in the country is limited.
“Research on medical science is not happening significantly here, which is very much needed. Those who were supposed to do this are very much busy attending to patients after becoming doctors. I see a handful of people who are doing research or making publications,” she said.
Regarding the research on cancer, the PM said the research on this disease is also very small in the country. “We need research urgently,” she said asking all concerned to focus on Bangladesh’s climate and environment while doing research, particularly on cancer.
She thanked the Kumudini Welfare Trust authorities and the family members of the Ramada Prada’s Shaha for their engagement in the development of the medical sector.
Hasina said the private sector is playing a significant role in advancing the country’s health sector and urged entrepreneurs to come forward in this regard.
For research activities, she said, the government has established Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University during its 1996-tenure while four medical universities are now being set up.
“Our aim is to establish one medical university in each division of the country to pave the way for research works,” she said.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque, Ranada Prasad’s daughter-in-law Srimati Saha, Chairman and Managing Director Kumudini Welfare Trust of Bengal (BD) Ltd Rajiv Prasad Shaha also spoke from Narayanganj side.