Khan, Mohammad Rafi
Khan, Mohammad Rafi (1928-2016) popularly known as MR Khan was an internationally reputed pediatrician, educationist, National Professor and social worker. He was born on 1 August 1928 at Rasulpur village of Satkhira, Bangladesh. His father’s name was Abdul Bari Khan, who was known for his voluntary social services. His mother’s name was Zaira Khanam.
MR Khan was a student of Calcutta Presidency College as a Mohosin Scholar. He completed his MBBS from Calcutta Medical College in 1952. Later in 1956, he went to London for further education and completed his first post-graduate degree DTMH from Edinburgh School of Medicine (1957). In 1962, he achieved the MRCP degree from Edinburgh Royal College of Physicians. In 1974, he earned the FCPS (Fellow of College of physicians and Surgeons) degree; in 1978, he got the FRCP (Fellow of Royal College of Physicians) degree from Edinburgh. In 2011, he earned PhD degree from BSMMU, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
After completing his MRCP degree, he returned to Bangladesh in 1962 and joined Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Dr. MR Khan was Associate Professor of Medicine, Dhaka Medical College, 1963-64; Associate Professor of Paediatrics, Rajshahi Medical College, 1964-69; Associate Professor of Paediatrics, Dhaka Medical College, 1969-70; Professor of Paediatrics, Dhaka Medical College, 1970-73; Professor and Joint Director, Institute of Postgraduate Medicine and Research (IPGMR), 1973-78. He was Professor of Paediatrics and Director, Dhaka Shishu (children) Hospital, 1978-79 and Professor of Paediatrics, IPGMR, 1979-88. He retired as a Professor of Pediatrics at IPGMR, now BSMMU in August 1988. He established the pediatric unit in Rajshahi Medical College in 1964-1965 and strengthened Dhaka Shishu Hospital in 1978–1979. He was the Founder President of the Bangladesh Paediatric Association. He was a Senior Visiting Professor at International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) from 1989 until his death. He was also a Professor, Founder Director, and Chairman of the Institute of Child Health and Shishu Hospital, Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was the Vice-Chairman of Jatiya Samaj Kalyan Parishad of the Ministry of Social Welfare; Chairman of the Polio Eradication Certification Committee of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It may be mentioned here that he first introduced vaccines against Polio, Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus in Bangladesh in January 1965 using ‘QurtroVirilon’, a combined vaccine produced by Hoechst. Apart from that, he also worked with ‘Adhunik’- a voluntary anti-tobacco smoking organization.
For his outstanding contribution in the field of child health, Professor Khan’s Biography has been included in the International ‘WHO’s WHO’ of Intellectuals (7th edition) published by Biographical Centre (IBC) Cambridge, UK (1987). He was the recipient of many awards, which included among others, the gold medal awarded by the Association of Paediatrics from South East Asia Region, Manila (1991); Kabi Nazrul Islam National Award and Gold Medal (1993); Kabi Sarojini Naidu Gold Medal (1997); Khan Bahadur Ahsanullah Gold Medal (1998); National Social Service Gold Medal by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Bangladesh government (1999); Association of Physician Bangladesh Gold Medal (2006). He has been a distinguished Fellow of the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences since 1975. The Bangladesh Academy of Sciences honoured him with the award of BAS – Professor Emeritus Dr. Sultan Ahmed Choudhury National Science and Technology Gold Medal (2011). He was made National Professor by the Bangladesh government in 1995. He was also awarded the Ekushey Padak in Social Services in 2009 and Swadhinata Padak (Independence Award) in 2016 by the Government of Bangladesh.
Dr. MR Khan has established several social voluntary development organizations, namely Shishu Sasthya Foundation, Bangladesh (1983); Shishu Hospital, Mirpur, Dhaka (1995); Institute of Child Health, Mirpur, Dhaka (2006); Institute of Nursing, Mirpur, Dhaka (2008); Shishu Hospital, Jashore (2000). Vocational Training Centre (VTC), Sathkira (2000); Support Centre for underprivileged children in Satkhira; Sathkhira Shishu Hospital (1988); Medical College for Women and Hospital, Uttara, Dhaka (1992); Nebedita Nursing Home, Dhaka and Central Hospital Limited, Dhaka.
The renowned child specialist Dr. MR Khan played a visionary role through the establishment of the Central University of Science and Technology (CUST) in 2016. After his retirement, with all his pensions and gratuity money Dr. MR Khan established a trust fund named ‘Dr. MR Khan and Anwara Trust Fund’. This Trust Fund awards Gold Medal to individuals for their outstanding contribution to the country's social and economic development. Dr. MR Khan died in Dhaka on 5 November 2016 and was buried in Satkhira. [Yearul Kabir]