A human skeleton will welcome you at the entrance of the library of human bones – the first of its kind in the country – at the Chattogram Medical College (CMC).
Upon entering the library, you will see an array of bones displayed on a table. The scientific names and the locations of the bones in a human body are also mentioned there. The library has a collection of 7,416 human bones from 36 human skeletons. Besides, there are 150 books on anatomy courses also available at the library.
Set up on around 1,000 square feet of area on the second floor of the new academic building of the college, the library has been named after Prof Dr Monsur Khalil, former head of the Anatomy Department.
Students are required to study human bones during the first and second years of the five-year MBBS course that all aspiring doctors have to pass.
But human bones are not cheap.
"It takes Tk40,000 to purchase one set of human bones," said Baizid Hossain, a second year student of the college.
"It was not possible for many students to buy the bones by themselves with so much money. So, many students had to suffer for this. Now this library has solved the problem."
A first year student of CMC, Sadia Sultana, was trying to understand the movement of clavicle bones.
She said, "This library has given us the facility of group discussions. When we do not understand any topic in the class, we can have a group discussion on the topic here, which is not possible in the hall rooms."
There are 12 tables in the library, which can accommodate a total of 48 students at a time. After the end of the study in the library, the bones are kept in two cabinets. Besides, some bones are also kept on top of steel and wooden wall shelves.
The library was inaugurated on September 19 last year.
The CMC Chhatra Sangsad and the CMC unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) took the initiative to establish the library and are in the charge of the library's maintenance.
They took help from different people, including teachers, to set up the library. The anatomy department of the college gave the library six sets of human bones, collected from unclaimed bodies kept in the hospital morgue.
Habibur Rahman, the CMC unit president of the Chhatra League, told The Business Standard, "Human bones are essential for studying anatomy course. But, the prices of the bones are very high for most of the students as they mainly belong to middle class. So, we took the initiative of building the library, where the students can study the bones, free of cost. Now, there are 36 sets of human bones, but it will be increased to 50 sets gradually."
Dr Shamim Hassan, principal of the CMC, said no such library exists anywhere else in Bangladesh.
Prof Dr Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman, head of the Anatomy Department at CMC, said, "Many students, who have financial problems, are benefitting from this library. In our time, we used to buy one set of human bones at Tk1,000 only. But, now it takes Tk40,000 on an average."