Health Desk-- March 06, 2018: One of the contributing scientists to invent ORS (oral rehydration solution) saline, and former chief physician of ICDDR,B`s Dhaka Dr. Rafiqul Islam breathed his last at Apollo Hospital in Dhaka on Monday morning. He had a heart attack last month and also had been suffering from old-age complications.
Born in 1936 in Comilla`s Chauddagram, Rafiqul completed his MBBS from Dhaka Medical College, joined ICDDR,B in the mid-60s and retired in 2000. Rafiqul did his higher studies on tropical medicine and hygiene in England. The father of three, including two daughters, conducted a series of clinical trials at the ICDDR,B but the most important one was the ORS.
Eventually, ORS was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). After the independence of Bangladesh, the solution got widespread publicity. In 1980, Bangladeshi NGO BRAC created a door-to-door and person-to-person awareness program about the ORS for use by mothers at home.
According to a Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey, diarrhea caused two percent of deaths of children under age five from 2007-11 compared to almost 20 percent in 1988-93. About 78 percent of children with diarrhea have been treated with ORS since 2007.
This helped Bangladesh become one of eight countries to have reduced mortality rates of children under five by at least two-thirds since 1990.