Dr Abid, a Bangladeshi-American, nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 2020
Dr Ruhul Abid, a Bangladeshi-American professor at Brown University Alpert Medical School in USA, and his nonprofit organisation Health and Education for All (HAEFA) were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, by University of Massachusetts Boston. Prof Jean-Philippe Belleau from the Department of Anthropology at UMASS Boston confirmed the news. Abid is one of 211 individuals nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.
In the last three years, the nonprofit organisation has provided free on-site treatment to more than 30,000 readymade garment workers, supported cervical cancer screening and treatment for more than 9,000 RMG workers and underprivileged women in Bangladesh, and given free healthcare to more than 150,000 Rohingya refugees and host community members in Cox's Bazar. Now, they are providing competency training for Covid-19 management, to combat the spread of the virus in two Rohingya refugee camps.
Abid's clinics specialise in treating long-term, chronic illness and non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, malnutrition, and cervical cancer. Due to Rohingya's lack of sustained healthcare since 1982 when Myanmar denied them citizenship, malnutrition and susceptibility to illnesses are widespread in the Rohingya population.
Whether or not Dr Abid gets the Nobel Prize ---one thing is certain. His contribution to Bangladeshi society has been tremendous. And of course not just to our society, his work has also helped the Rohingyas to achieve a measure of healthcare that they never knew could be possible.
But there is another facet about the equation which is also equally certain --- would he have been able to do all this while remaining inside Bangladesh? For some reason our country remains a curse to those people talented enough to really make a difference. That is why there has been an exodus of immeasurably talented people like Dr Abid to other shores.
It is also true our educated people do not feel fully committed to their own country and do good for the country. It is a matter of pride for some Bangladeshis to have American or any other Western country's passports. This is a major reason why Bangladesh is in such poor state.