Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said several countries have expressed interest to provide Covid-19 vaccines to Bangladesh, and the country will receive those to ensure vaccination up to rural level.
"We have procured three crore (doses) of Covid-19 vaccine. The Indian government has sent 20 lakh doses as gift. Other countries are also willing to provide (vaccines). We'll take those so that we can ensure vaccination up to rural level," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while laying the foundation stone of Kumudini International Institute of Medical Sciences and Cancer Research (KIIMS CaRe) at Narayanganj. She joined the programme virtually from her official residence Gono Bhaban.
The Kumudini Welfare Trust, which was founded by noted philanthropist and businessman Ranada Prasad Shaha in June 1947, is setting up the hospital.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has already procured thee crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine and paid in advance.
"We made the advance payment when the research was going on and the World Health Organization (WHO) did not give approval, but I made the advance (payment) so that we could get it early," she said.
She said there was some doubt and confusion at the initial stage among people about the Covid-19 vaccine.
She thanked Runu Veronica Costa, who obtained her nursing degree from Kumudini Nursing Institute, for receiving the first shot of Covid-19 vaccine in Bangladesh -- removing all the confusion and doubt regarding the vaccine.
"Now there's no problem, everyone is coming to get the vaccine at vaccination centres with huge interest and enthusiasm," she said.
Hasina also mentioned that the government is doing whatever necessary to face the coronavirus and the pandemic is now largely under control in Bangladesh for various appropriate measurers of the government.
Hasina also mentioned that to face the coronavirus, the government in the beginning of the pandemic appointed 2,000 doctors and 6,000 nurses and technicians.
"We're taking further steps to appoint more (doctors and nurses, technicians) so that people of the country can avail medical facilities," she said.
The Prime Minister stressed the importance of research work as the scope of this in the country is limited.
"Research on medical science is not happening significantly here, which is very much needed. Those who were supposed to do this are very busy attending patients after becoming doctors. I see a handful of people doing research or making publications," she said.
Regarding research on cancer, the PM said the research on this disease is also very inadequate in the country. "We need research urgently," she said asking all concerned to focus on Bangladesh's climate and environment while doing research, particularly on cancer.
She thanked the Kumudini Welfare Trust authorities and the family members of Ranada Prasad Shaha for their engagement in the development of medical sector.
Hasina said the private sector is playing a significant role in advancing the country's health sector and urged entrepreneurs to come forward in this regard.
For research activities, she said the government has established Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University during its 1996-tenure while four medical universities are now being set up.
"Our aim is to establish one medical university in each division of the country to pave the way for research work," she said.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque, Ranada Prasad's daughter-in-law Srimati Saha, Chairman and Managing Director Kumudini Welfare Trust of Bengal (BD) Ltd Rajiv Prasad Shaha also spoke from Narayanganj side.