February 24, 2024, 4:36 pm

Diplomatic correspondent

2023-12-05 22:40:20 BdST

Canadian High Commissioner Lilly Nicholls saysicddr,b contributing to research, community, poor who have no access to services

High Commissioner of Canada to Bangladesh Dr Lilly Nicholls has said icddr,b is contributing not only to research but also to the community, specially to the poor who have no means or access to the services.

"It’s an incredible contribution. I am also very interested to see what you would do next. Canada of course has been with you as a proud core donor from the very beginning and will continue to do so," she said while speaking as the chief guest at a function.

Marking a significant 63-year journey in pioneering global health research and innovation, icddr,b celebrated its anniversary on Tuesday at the Mohakhali Campus in Dhaka.

Originating as the Cholera Research Laboratory (CRL) under the support of Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA during the height of a severe cholera pandemic, the institution was later renamed icddr,b in 1978.

The occasion also commemorated the first anniversary of the icddr,b Act 2022, passed by the Parliament of Bangladesh, which reaffirmed icddr,b’s role as an international research institution.

The celebrations commenced with a special seminar, featuring a welcome address by Dr Tahmeed Ahmed, who highlighted icddr,b's crucial contributions to medical research and public health.

Emphasising icddr,b's ground-breaking development of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS), Dr Ahmed outlined its pivotal role in reducing childhood diarrhoeal disease mortality and advancing maternal and neonatal health, including significant progress in tetanus toxoid vaccine research.

His address also spotlighted icddr,b's leadership in developing effective oral cholera vaccines, establishing guidelines for treating severe malnutrition, and contributing to global polio eradication efforts.

Dr Binayak Sen,

Director General of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, delivered a keynote presentation titled 'Poverty Trends and Dynamics in Bangladesh: Insights from Recent Evidence.'

He noted the impressive decline in poverty over the last decade in Bangladesh, while acknowledging the adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict on poverty levels.

Dr Sen highlighted key poverty drivers and proposed several policy considerations for the short and medium term, focusing on smart macroeconomic management, sustaining growth, tax-financed human development, and geo-economic considerations.

In a video message, icddr,b’s Chair of the Board of Trustees Nancy Cheng said, “I think it's important to work hard but also to play hard. This is a place where there is so much opportunity. The breadth of work that we do has just tremendous potential to be unleashed. I wish everybody well, have fun, and believe in the organization.”

A Pitha festival, celebrating local traditions and the rich cultural heritage of the region, was also organised.

The event saw attendance from dignitaries, development partners, media representatives, and friends of icddr,b, alongside icddr,b staff.

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