Thursday, October 1, 2020 | ePaper

icddr,b deserves all help at this trying time

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THE International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b)   the country's one of the best known public health organization and acclaimed world-wide for innovation of dehydration therapy (Orsaline) to save millions of cholera patients is now in dire financial situation facing existential crisis.
International donations dried up recently as the Covid infested world is overnight changing. Its income from local diagnostic sources has also fell flat while icddr,b's  operating cost shot up amid corona pandemic many times to precipitate the financial crisis.
The organization's disclosure that it is now struggling to offer free of cost treatment to diarrheal patients at two of its hospitals facilities is quite shocking at a time the number patients doubled over the past few years. The situation seems to be so desperate that an organization of such an international repute has opened a public call for donations using mobile SMS messages from April 7.
Its Executive Director Prof. D Clemens has sought help from every public and private quarter saying no donation will be too small nor too big to save it from the brink. Its annual revenue was over US$ 75 million only last year but has plummeted now running out of surplus to run essential services.
International donations make up the organization's 80 per cent annual revenue but only 15 per cent is untied for operating cost. The remaining is restricted to run research work. Bangladesh government as the host country pays donation to it along with Canada, Sweden, UK, USA and many others use public and private channels to fund it.
We must say saving such an important public health organization is a huge task and everybody must extend the helping hand in the first place within the country to stabilize the situation. Actually endowment trusts in developed countries come up to such help but in our case banks and big corporate houses may make a move while the government should also make more contribution to ease the crisis.  
Basically as we see icddr,b is an international organization initially set up under a multilateral initiative in 1960s. So the onus essentially lies with the international community to mitigate the crisis. We also suggest that Bangladesh government should work with global donors to collect fund for the ailing organization.

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