September 2006


Picture courtesy Daily Prothom ALo.

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In a blog titled ” What Khaleda Zia should tell India”, about six months ago, I wrote the following,

she should mention of a more serious threat, coming out of India through it’s border into Bangladesh.

She should remind India that rather than spending money in rocket, nuclear science, and not pretending to be world’s most advanced country, India should focus a bit more into some basic issues.

She shoukld tell that ..”Only 4 countries are still polio-endemic – : Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. ” This deadly polio virus is more dangerous than any possble terrorism.

Bangladesh is a succes story in immunization campaign agaist different deadly diseases. Polio was eradicated six years ago. But as India ( While focused on showcasing herself as world’s super power, did a poor job eradicating Polio; and this polio is spreading Back to Bangladesh.

Following this blog, I took a great deal of lashing as being an ultranationalist xenophobic, anti-India bigot, religious fanatic etc. However better late than never , World health Organization has finally came out with this statement yesterday, India actively ‘exporting’ polio to Bangladesh. I am not surprised at this statement. Considering the gravity of the situation, I knew it was coming.

Yesterday I wrote about Bangladesh being the Asian hub of MDR TB putting the whole region at great danger of having a MDR TB epidemic.

These are not issues of politics. These are matters of priority. While India is busy climbing up the stairs to become a superpower, they are forced to neglect in this basic sectors. At the same time, Bangladesh turned into a five year cycle of election-new government-political agitation-hartal-violence-lathicharge-caretaker govt.-new govt. Other than sporadic incidents, issues other than good old politics has been out of public’s mind.

We must set our priorities straight. We must tackle these looming public health calamities with all the resources we have. There is no alternative to political stability, national consensus, good governance and regional cooperation to achieve our goal. We can’t afford to fail in this endeavour.

Power lust is ruining all the last remaining institutions we have.

Partisanship is rampant in every sector of the society, starting from the elementary school admission to the highest court of law.

Morality, honesty, ideology are now lost arts in Bangladesh.

The nation is split in half by party lines. Partially blinded, this split nation fail to see that the other half, at the end of the day,has the same flesh and blood, same hope, same fear, same joy and the same love, the love for Bangladesh.

It’s about time we make a unified effort to regain our national morality and integrity. Let the Love prevail.

We need to make room for this future generation to grow.

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[Thanks to DP blogger Rehan for allowing me to use this picture of his kids, 18 and 7 months old]

Can there be any worse terrorist in the world than that kills one people every ten minutes?

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*TB kills one every 10 minutes in Bangladesh

*A total of 70,000 TB infected persons die each year and 300,000 new TB cases are expected every year in Bangladesh. Globally, one third of the world population is already infected with TB, while more than 10 million develop TB each year.
60 percent of the TB cases are still undetected.

*Millions of children are contracting TB every year. Our physicians are not adequately trained in treating children with TB. There are no curricula and any concerted effort in launching a campaign for treating children with TB.

*There are estimated 3-4% multi drug resistant TB in Bangladesh. There are very few available medication for multi-drug resistant TB and these medicine are not produced in Bangladesh. And some of these imported medications are abused as they are being used for common cold or viral infections without any real need. As a result, resistance is developing against these antibiotics in Bangladesh.

*Multi drug resistant TB is a clear and present danger. If we can’t control it now, a perilous future awaits us in Bangladesh.

* Bangladesh faces the possibility of being a pariah country where foreigners will not visit. An epidemic of multi-drug resistant TB may even prompt all foreigners currently living in Bangladesh to leave this country. Foreign business, investment, manpower export, all will stop. If Bangladesh fail to contain multi-drug resistant TB it will poses a grave danger to the dense population in this subcontinent.
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Bangladesh has many problems. Jamaat, Shibir and Bangla Bhai are few of such problems. But while we are focused on those problems, please, let’s not forget about the clear and present danger like multi-drug resistant TB in Bangladesh.

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