KMW Centre: A primary health care complex for free consultancy and first aid for both men and women
Dr Khurshed Memorial Welfare Centre
Charity Reg. # Kishore 0861, Dated: 02/08/2011,
Ministry of Social Welfare, Gov. of Bangladesh
P.O. Muslim Para, Village: Jangalbari,
Sub Div: Karimganj, Dist: Kishoreganj, Bangladesh.
Jangal Bari, the fabled village of the Eastern Bangladesh, and lies on the bank of the tranquil small river called, ‘Naroshundha’. During the summer season this river comes to life with a host of marine lives and aquatic activities. The famous amongst the 12 Bhuayyas (Land lords), Isha Khan while navigating his way along this river, saw the picturesque village hidden under the green canopy of trees and foliage and decided to settled down here with his army nearly three and a half centuries ago. He earned his fame by defeating Ma’an Sing, the chief army general of the Emperor of India, Akhbar and sparing his life to win gratitude from the mighty emperor.
This heroic episode would have kept the name of Jangalbari and Ish khan merely in the footnote of the long and eventful history of the Eastern Bengal. The village became fabled by a different kind of heroism by a formidable lady, Sakhina, who came here as the bride of Isha Khan’s grand son Feroze Khan despite her father’s stern objection to the marriage. The story of love, battle and betrayal had been a major part of the ballads of eastern Bengal and had been enshrined in the collective psyche of the Bengali speaking people. The worrier princess withstood her father’s wrath and led an army to rescue her husband from captivity at her father’s castle in a neighbouring village. But alas, the divorce document, obtained under heavy duress, brought to her in the battle field by an emissary was too much to bear and she collapsed and died. The ballad ends with the line, “After all this time, sadly darkness has befallen Jangalbari”.
Over the next three and a half millennium, the once vibrant and prosperous society under the benevolent rule of s the Bhuyas declined only to rise again to a new glory in recent times. The people of Jangalbari have established a high school, a girls’ college etc and, the village had got a face lift through electrification. The Primary Health care centre within the ‘Dr Khurshed Memorial welfare Centre’ is the newest addition to the amenities available to the villagers, particularly the hapless and impoverished ones.
The ‘Khurshed Memorial Welfare Centre (KMWC)’ was founded on the 1st of January 2011 at the Jangalbari, the ancestral home of the worthy son of the village, Dr Khurshed Ahmed, to commemorate his memory. This is situated at about 4 km from the district town Kishoreganj in Bangladesh on the bank of a small river called Noro shundah, about 72 km south-east of the Capital city-Dhaka. The idea of this project was conceived by Dr.Sheikh Rafi Ahmad (eldest son of late Dr Khurshed Ahmed), and the project has been implemented by financial contributions from him and his siblings.
The complex stands on 2427 square meters of land (containing a large pond suitable for fish farming) and having a pathway for easy access for ambulance and other vehicles. The complex has a foundation for 3 stories. The ground floor (320 sq. meters) consists of a large conference hall (also suitable for converting it into a 4-bed hospital accommodation (11.3 m x 4.3 m) and rooms for surgeries for 2 doctors, one bigger (4.9 m x 3.7 m) and the other, a bit smaller (3.8 m x 2.4 m) and also a room for the nurse (4.0 m x. 1.8 m), all with attached WCs and wash basins. The complex has a store room (4.0 m x 1.8 m) and a specious patients’ waiting area (7.0 m x 5.6 m). A plan is a foot to construct a 2 bed-room flat with a kitchen, a toilet and a store room on the first floor. These facilities will be available for use by visiting dignitaries, temporary medical/nursing staff from outside and abroad. The ultimate objective of the project is to use this complex to facilitate and promote immunization, education in hygiene, healthy eating and child care, regular clinics or eye (cataract operation), diabetes screening (life style education) and hearing problems.
Profile of (late) Dr Khorshed Ahmed
(Late) Dr. Khurshed Ahmed (1913 – 1977), to whose memory the centre is dedicated, served most of his working life as a well-known medical doctor within the surrounding areas of Jangalbari-his ancestral village. Khurshed Ahmad, the son of an Amin (Surveyor), was born and brought up in the ‘Aminbari’ only a stone’s through from Isha kha’s castelle. He matriculated from a nearby School at Asmita and went to study medicine at the Mitford College, the only medical college in the then Eastern Bengal. At the second year of his four year coarse, his father passed away, leaving them almost destitute. With dogged determination and support from his formidable mother – Taimunnessa he withstood poverty and hardship and eventually qualified as a doctor. He settled down to practice medicine in a nearby town called Netrakona. In those days it was very hard to promote allopathic medicine as the people in the countryside and villages were used to homeopathic, herbal and Ayurbedic medicine as well as wide-spread reliance on faith healing. He indulged in leftist politics, ultimately becoming a high official of the East Bengal Communist party, while continuing to practice medicine for a living.
The Ahmed family’s dwelling house had long since gone, leaving the land, trees and two large ponds. The ponds are and always had been used by the local people for bathing and fishing and the water was also carried back to people’s homes in koloshi (earthen pitcher) for daily use. The boy of Aminbari became a qualified medical doctor and left the village to earn a living in a neighbouring town. He devoted his life for the services of the disadvantaged people of the society while bringing up six children. His children grew up and were scattered across the globe. But none of them ever forgot the aspiration of their father and have established the Welfare complex on the soil of Aminbari and dedicated it to the memory of their beloved father. They are also taking care that their children do not forget the aspiration and the noble expectation of their grandfather in a faraway impoverished country. Dr Khurshed’s dedicated efforts to save life not only as a medical doctor but as volunteer in a group to run a ‘Longer Khana’ (equivalent to a soup kitchen) at the time of the most devastating famine in 1950’s had been a folklore within the locality.
Aims and objectives
The welfare centre has been registered as a charity organization by the ministry of Social welfare, Government of Bangladesh. It is a multidisciplinary project with diverse objectives. One of the main objectives is to provide free primary health care for the hapless and destitute residents of Jangalbari and its surrounding areas. It is also the aim to extend the primary care into a full-fledged healthcare, initially with 4 hospital beds, facilities for regular small surgeries, provision of essential medicine and nursing care including home visits. In addition to this the project aims to implement the following in the fullness of time:
- Advice on healthy diet,
- Implement facilities (deep tube wells) for easy access to pure drinking water for all.
- Assist in the effective implementation of Government and non-Government schemes for family planning.
- Create awareness and take action on personal and environmental cleanliness, appropriate sanitation, and removal of arsenic from drinking water and food stuff.
- Undertake projects for the overall welfare of the women and children through national and international collaborations and help.
- Organize annual eye camp, diabetes screening camp, dental camp etc. through the auspices of various national and international charity organizations.
The project is run by an executive committee consisting of a president, two vice presidents, one executive secretary, one finance secretary and 6 members who will be assigned responsibilities as and when necessary. Any dispute will be resolved by a simple majority vote. The members of the executive committee will be elected by the general membership of the organization which consists of: founder members, donor members, ordinary members, life members and associate members. The full details of the structure of the organization are included in the constitution of the organization.
The centre, at present employs, 2 fully qualified part-time doctors (male and female), and one fully qualified full time female nurse, one care taker and one administrator. The current monthly running cost of the centre, including staff salaries and maintenance, is approximately £500. Currently only free consultancy services are provided daily to, on the average, 25 patients. On the opening date (1 Jan. ’12) a diabetic clinic screened 340 patients. On 15 Feb. ’12, an eye clinic was setup under the auspices of the Welfare Centre and out of 321 screened, 52 received free cataract operations and got back their eye sight.
Photo: Portrait of the late Dr S Khurshed Ahmad
Photo: Diabetic Screening Camp
Photo: Estelle in the KMWC Eye Camp
Photo: Rafi receiving an award
Photo: Reception given to Rafi and Estelle by the villagers of Jangalbari
Account details for donations
In the United Kingdom
Account name: Dr Khurshed Memorial Welfare Centre; Lloyds TSB Bank Ltd.
Address: Old Town, Swindon Branch, PO Box 1000, United Kingdom, BX1 1LT.
Acc. No: 53830768 Sort Code: 30 98 41.
Account name: Dr Khurshed Memorial Welfare Centre; National Bank Ltd.
Address: Dhanmondi Branch, 761 Satmasjid Road, Dhaka-1209, Bangladesh.
Acc. No: 6333015976 Sort code: NBLBBDDH.
Dr S Rafi Ahmad (D Phil, Oxon), President
Tel: +44 (0) 7717040335 (UK);
S Kabir Ahmed, Executive secretary
Tel: 01713397550 (Bangladesh)
S Tariq Ahmad (Ph D Cantab), Vice-president
Tel: +44 (0) 7765901618 (UK)