Bangladesh to lead Third World in medical physics
News Network quoting Professor K. Siddique-e-Rabbani of Dhaka University
EIGHTY per cent of the global population living in the third world countries hardly get the services of modern healthcare technologies and are unlikely to get in the foreseeable future if the development of appliances and their commercialisation is done by the rich countries.
Professor K Siddique-e-Rabbani of Dhaka University in a lecture at the 16th International Conference of Medical Physics (ICMP) held at Dubai in April 2008 said, ECG and the X-ray machines were invented over 100 years ago and still majority of the population in the third world countries do not get their benefits.
He said the only way to remove the disparity is to allow the third world people to design and manufacture the necessary equipment in their own countries. This will make the equipment affordable apart from other advantages like better longevity, repair and scope for maintenance. It will also allow innovation of new methods and devices to deal with specific health problems.
According to Prof Rabbani, with the existing knowledge of relevant science and engineering disciplines and the existing infrastructures, the third world technologists can design and make in their own countries, almost 90 per cent of the equipment that are needed to deliver modern healthcare. But fear of unfamiliarity, lack of practical exposure and confidence bars them from making such attempts.
There is also a vested quarter that wants to serve the interests of the multinational manufacturers as they influence the policymakers in the third world countries.
Prof Rabbani was highly acclaimed by the audience, including senior members of the International Organisation of Medical Physics (IOMP).
Dr. Rabbani said with 30 years of continued efforts in developing indigenous capability in Biomedical Physics and Engineering at Dhaka University and at Bangladesh Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Appropriate Technology (BiBEAT), Bangladesh is now ready to take the leading role in the Third World in this respect and plans to set up an international centre in Dhaka in this connection.
He also presented sample slides of a computerised ECG circuit trainer involving both hardware and software. which he designed and fabricated from scratch. It was also used to train engineers from several countries at a short course and workshop organised by the Islami University of Technology (IUT) in Gazipur last year.
The workshop was a great success and a few foreign and local participants purchased and carried home a few of these trainer kits to initiate the training in their respective institutions.
This particular training programme could be a beginning to trigger the technological confidence in the third world Dr. Rabbani said in his lecture.
He currently leads the research at the Biomedical Physics Laboratory, Department of Physics, Dhaka University
The history of the above efforts in Bangladesh goes back to 1978 when Dr. A Sattar Syed, a senior Physicist at BSCIR at the time, took the initiative to take up research on electromagnetic stimulation for bone healing together with his friend late Professor M. Shamsul Islam at the Dhaka University Physics department.
Professor Islam motivated and induced Dr. Rabbani, a fresh Ph.D. in Electronics, to help and join this research team, and thus was formed the pioneering group of Medical Physics research in Bangladesh.
This later grew manifold due to an academic link in 1983 with Sheffield University through the efforts of Professor Islam and Professor B.H. Brown, and supported by the British ODA.
Over the years more than 80 students have done their Master thesis in Medical Physics under Dr. Rabbani.
Recently, a few have completed M. Phil and PhD as well.
All necessary specialised research equipment were designed and fabricated locally. SME of these groundbreaking researches, particularly in Nerve conduction measurement and in electrical impedance methods for physiological study and diagnosis, have received international acclaim through both conferences and publications.
This brings a ray of hope and possibility for Bangladesh to serve the global humanity, particularly in the Third World, as a leader of appropriate technology in Medical Physics.