A long-time friend of Bangladesh Dr Pierre Claquin, a French citizen, who worked for the small pox and poliovirus eradication in Bangladesh died in Paris at the age of 74 on Thursday, February 4, 2021 morning. He had been suffering from diabetes and kidney disease.
Dr Pierre Claquin was a medical epidemiologist, public health specialist, and teacher who worked in many countries of Africa, South and Central Asia including Bangladesh. He spent much of his professional career in Bangladesh working for Primary Health Care (PHC), Maternal-child Health (MCH) and Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) projects. His most notable contribution to Bangladesh is his work in Smallpox and Poliovirus eradication.
He first came to war-torn Bangladesh in 1972 to work as a Medical Officer when the country was badly damaged by the liberation war and the health care delivery system was literally non-existent. He was based in the remote Upazila of Shariakandi of Bogra District. Afterwards between 1975 and 2018 for more than 16 years, he had worked for several public health projects in Bangladesh supporting the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW).
In his personal life, he was an internationally renowned photographer who loved to portray the life of marginalized people and their livelihoods. He had several photo exhibitions in Bangladesh: "Borrowed faces" (Dhaka, October 2000; Chittagong, Feb 2001); "The Eastern Gallery of the Berlin Wall" (Dhaka, April 2001); "1972 - 2002: The changing faces of Shariakandi" (Dhaka and Shariakandi, April 2002); "Surviving Dreams: the struggling circus of Bangladesh" (Chhobi Mela-II, Dhaka, November 2002). He also published a book of 120 black and white photographs on the disappearing circuses of Bangladesh.
Pierre spoke fluent Bangla. He left behind a host of relatives, friends, and colleagues in Bangladesh including renowned filmmaker Tanvir Mokammel, photographer Anwar Hossain and Nasir Ali Mamun.