BNSB Moulvibazar Eye Hospital
The late Dr Shah Nurul Islam was a pioneering eye surgeon in Moulvibazar. Born in 1941, he gained a medical degree in 1968 and throughout his career in Ophthalmology he introduced a number of innovative programmes to reduce needless blindness in Bangladesh. These included outreach camps to remote areas and school sight testing which are still in place today.
During the Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971 Dr Islam was captured and imprisoned, after the war he joined relief and rehabilitation programs.
In 1981 he realised his dream and founded the Bangladesh National Society for the Blind (BNSB) Hospital in Moulvibazar, with help from local philanthropists. He served as its General Secretary in charge, until his death.
He travelled to the UK, USA and Canada to raise funding for his hospital which still runs on charitable giving. Over his life time he was awarded multiple medals for his social care especially for the poor people of Bangladesh. In 1997 he was given the ‘The Social Welfare Medal’ by the Bangladesh Prime Minister.
He died in 2006 leaving a wife and three sons, one of whom is now Senior Consultant at the hospital. He leaves a huge ongoing legacy of a life devoted to kindness, helping those living in extreme poverty.
Today his son Dr Shah Aminul Islam follows in his footsteps as Senior Consultant and another son is on the hospital committee. The hospital has 160 staff and is known throughout Bangladesh.
We first visited the hospital in 2006 when our founder, Rachel Andrews, went with a team funded by Orbis.
The hospital sees up to 600 patients a day, who all come from a large surrounding catchment area, some patients even come over the border from India. The hospital frequently sends out teams of professionals to reach the people in the rural areas. The patients are screened and anyone needing treatment is sent to the hospital, some transport to the hospital has to be provided too.
While visiting the hospital in 2006, Rachel was saddened to see some children, needing sight saving operations, had to be turned away because they had no ability to contribute to the cost of their surgery.
She returned to the UK determined to find a way to create a supply of money the hospital could access, specifically for the very poor.
Through ongoing fundraising and donations, and eventually creating the charity Vision for Bangladesh in 2017, there is now a fund for the hospital to use to pay for surgery for those that can't afford it.
As incurring costs are grow, especially as the population become aware of treatment being available, and as word spreads that blindness can be cured in many, the demand is increasing.
Can you help?
The task is never finished. There will always be more children that need surgery to save their sight.
We are a small charity and we rely completely on the generosity of our supporters.
Please join us, donate and help give another child the gift of sight.