Today marks the 94th birth anniversary of national professor Dr Muhammad Rafi Khan, popularly known as child specialist MR Khan.
He was the first introducer of vaccines against Polio, Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus in Bangladesh in 1965 using "Qurtro Virilon", a combined vaccine.
Prof Khan was the Founder President of Bangladesh Pediatric Association.
Since 1989 he was a Senior Visiting Prof at icddr,b; Prof and Founder Director and Chairman of the Institute of Child Health and Shishu Hospital.
He established a number of social voluntary development organizations namely Sasthya Foundation, Bangladesh: (1983); Shishu Hospital, Mirpur, Dhaka (1995); Institute of Child Health, Mirpur, Dhaka: (2006); Institute of Nursing, Mirpur, Dhaka, (2008); Shishu Hospital, Jessore (2000); Vocational Training Centre (VTC), Sathkira (2000); Support Centre for underprivileged children in Satkhira (1995); Sathkhira Shishu Hospital (1988); Medical College for Women and Hospital, Uttara, Dhaka; Nebedita Nursing Home, Dhaka and Central Hospital Ltd. Dhaka.
Apart from that, he played a vital role in eradicating polio from our country and also worked with "Adhunik"- a voluntary anti-tobacco smoking organisation.
Prof Khan was an advisor of Quantum Foundation and was also a Quantum Pro-master.
Born on 1 August 1928, Prof MR Khan passed his ISC with first division and got accepted into Calcutta Medical College in 1945. He came to Shatkhira in 1952, after completing his MBBS.
Later, in 1956 he went to London for his further education and got admitted to Edinburg School of Medicine.
In 1962, he achieved the MRCP degree from Edinburg Royal College of Physician; in 1974 he earned FCPS (Fellow of College of physicians and Surgeons) degree from Bangladesh and, again, in 1978 got the FRCP (Fellow of Royal College of physicians) degree from Edinburg.
From 1957 to 1962 he worked in England Manchester and Edinburg Group Hospital, respectively, as Asst Register and Registered Medical Assistant and Practitioner.
He returned to his country in 1962 and joined as an Associate Professor in Dhaka Medical College Hospital in 1963. In 1964, he joined the Medicine Department of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital as Assistant Professor (children's health). In 1969 he was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the paediatrics department at Dhaka Medical College.
In 1971, he fulfilled the responsibility of professor at Institute of Post Graduate Medicine and Research (IPGMR) and in 1973, became a joint director of the same institute. In the November of 1978, Dr Khan became the professor and director of Dhaka Shishu Hospital.
In the same year, he was reappointed as a professor in the paediatrics department of IPGMR where he fulfilled his duty with great care, proficiency and well-reputation. Finally, Dr MR Khan took his retirement in 1988.
The life of this ideal person earned a place in the 1997 publication of the biographical center International Who's Who of Intellectuals, Cambridge.
He passed away on 5 November 2016.
He married Anwara Begum Anu on January 1, 1954, and had their only daughter Doulatunnesa (Mandy).
With the money from his pension and from his wife, he built a Trust named Dr MR Khan-Anwara Trust. Through this Trust, Dr Khan used to provide assistance to different mosques, schools, hospitals and a number of destitute women in Satkhira as well as other social welfare activities.
Apart from these, the trust fund has had been awarding Gold Medal to individuals for their outstanding contributions in the field of social and economic development in the country. Notable awardees were Dr Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank; Fazle Hasan Abed, Brac; Velori Taylor, CRP, AAngela Gomez, Banchte Shekha, Khandker Shahidul Islam, Dr Sultana Zaman and others.
He worked diligently for the impoverished mothers and children, providing them with proper medical care and with an intention to improve their social and financial status, through the Trust.
As a physician and a social worker, Prof MR Khan won numerous laurels in his eventful life. For his outstanding contribution in the field of child health, called as the "father of paediatrics" and "Shishu Bandhu'" in Bangladesh, Prof MR Khan was awarded Gold Medal by the Association of paediatrics, Manila,-1991 Sher-E-Bangla Jatiya Smriti Sangsad Gold Medel,1992 Kabi Nazrul Islam National Award and Gold Medel,1993, Maulana Tarkabgish Gold Medal, 2003, Maulana Bhashani Gold Medal, 1993, Bangladesh paediatrics Association Award and Gold Medel,1994, National Professor, 1995, Abu Hossain Sarkar National Award and Gold Medel-1995, Kabi Sarojini Naidu Gold Medal 1997, Khan Bahadur Ahsanullah Gold Medal 1998, Ibne Sina Gold Medel-1999, National Social Service Gold Medal of the Ministry of Social Welfare, GOB-1999. Nabab Salimullah Gold Medal , 2006, Scholar of the Year 2007 Title offered by NRB, Ekushey Padak in Social Service, 2009 and Swadhinata Padak in 2016. Dr Khan was awarded PhD by BSMMU for life-long contribution, research and services to humanity. In recognition of his outstanding contributions in the field of Medical Science, the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences is honouring Prof Mohammad Rafi Khan with the award of BAS -Prof Emeritus Dr Sultan Ahmed Choudhury National Science and Technology Gold Medal 2007.
Dr Muhammad Abdul Mazid is Former Secretary and Chairman of NBR