Dr MR Khan, esteemed as the pioneer of paediatrics in Bangladesh, has passed away, agencies report. The 88-year-old child specialist breathed his last at 4:25pm on Saturday at Dhaka’s Central Hospital, said the hospital’s Director Dr MA Kashem.
“He was being treated for old age complications. He underwent two or three surgeries recently at home and abroad,” he told this correspondent. In an instant reaction, Dr Ekhlasur Rahman, director of Dhaka’s Institute of Child Health, said, “MR Khan was the first paediatric professor in Bangladesh. There is no paediatrician in Bangladesh who has not been a direct or indirect student of his.”
Khan was called the “Father of Paediatricians and Institution” in Bangladesh, Rahman said. He was awarded the Ekushey Padak for his contributions to child health and medicine on Mar 24 this year.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also honoured Khan with Bangladesh’s highest civilian honour, the Swadhinata Padak or Independence. In his long career, Khan founded several organisations and national institutions. Among them are the Child Health Foundation Bangladesh, Institute of Child Health and Hospital at Mirpur, Dhaka and Children’s Hospitals at Satkhira and Jessore.
President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have condoled Dr. Khan’s death and expressed their sympathies with his family. The Bangladesh Medical Association also issued a condolence message.
Director General for health services Prof Abul Kalam Azad expressed his condolence on behalf of the directorate. In a statement, he said, Prof Khan “led and actively participated” in many reform activities of the health sector.
“The nation will always remember him particularly for his contribution in child health development,” he said. His body will be kept at the Central Hospital mortuary, Hospital Director Kashem said. Khan was chairman and managing director of the hospital.
His family said his remains will be taken to Satkhira for burial after funeral prayers at Central Hospital and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University on Sunday morning.
Dr MR Khan has left behind his daughter Daulatunnesa Mandy and a host of relatives and well-wishers. Bangladesh Paediatrics Association President Professor Muhammad Shahidullah told bdnews24.com that the remains of Khan will be taken to the Central Shaheed Minar for the people to pay respect on Sunday noon after the funeral prayers.
Later, another Namaz-e-Janaza will be held at Mirpur’s Institute of Child Health he founded. His remains will also be taken to Khan-founded Women’s Medical College in Uttara. Mohammad Rofi Khan, popularly known as MR Khan, was born in Rasulpur village of Satkhira on Aug 1, 1928.
He donated almost all his assets for the people of Satkhira.
The second of four sons of Abdul Bari Khan and Jaira Khanam, MR Khan passed matriculation in the first division from Pran Nath High School in Satkhira in 1943 and got admission to Presidency College in Kolkata, from where he passed the ISc again in the first division two years later.
After completing the MBBS course at Calcutta Medical College in 1952, he returned to Satkhira. He later went abroad for higher education. Khan joined Dhaka Medical College as an associate professor in 1963 and retired as a Professor of Paediatrics at IPGM&R, now BSMMU, in 1988, but continued to treat children as a private practitioner.
After joining IPGM&R in 1971, he was appointed its joint director in 1973. Before his retirement, he served Rajshahi Medical College, Dhaka Shishu Hospital and other institutions in different capacities.
Besides the Swadhinata Padak and Ekushey Padak, he received a number of awards for his contribution to child health and social work. His life sketch was included in a publication of Biographical Centre, Cambridge, UK, in 1987.
He received Manila Award from South East Asia Region of the Association of Paediatrics in 1991. National and international publications published 37 of his research-based articles. He wrote seven books on child health.