Back in 1956 the real extent of the problem of diabetes in the country was not evident. People thought that diabetes is a disease of the affluents and hardly anyone anticipated that diabetes would be an epidemic even in the developing countries - except Dr. Ibrahim. Foreseeing the problem, Dr. Ibrahim organised and led a team of social workers, philanthropists, physicians, and civil servants to establish the Diabetic Association of Pakistan on 28 February 1956 in a tin-shed building at Segun Bagicha area of Dhaka with only 23 patients. The association was a non-profit voluntary socio-medical service organisation. Primarily an adhoc committee was formed to run the organisation. Later, on 21 May 1956 the first Office Bearers of the Association has been formed with Dr. Ibrahim himself as the Vice President and the following members:
The ground-breaking organisation was formed by Dr. Ibrahim to help the most needy. With this in mind, he gave free primary care to the diabetic patients irrespective of socio-economic, racial or religious status. Even rich patients were not allowed to buy the primary diabetic care, but could donate money to the association. The resources and fund was raised through motivation programs.
No diabetic patients should die untreated, unfed or unemployed even if she/he is poor.
Dr. Mohammad Ibrahim worked tirelessly to fulfill his vision of a healthy diabetes-free nation whilst simultaneously juggling his professional and academic responsibilities. In 1958 he served as the Governor at the Pakistan chapter of the American College of Chest Physicians. Four years later, in 1962, he received his FCPS (Fellowship of College of Physicians & Surgeons) degree - postgraduate training in specialties of Medicine - from Pakistan College of Physicians and Surgeons and served as the Professor of Medicine and Principal at Sir Salimullah Medical College and Hospital until 1964. During the same time, in 1963, the Government of Pakistan honoured Dr. Ibrahim with the Sitara-i-Khidmat state award for his special contributions to medical science.
In 1964, he was appointed Director and Professor at Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Center in Karachi, West Pakistan. While in the western wing, Dr. Ibrahim opened two new branch of the Diabetic Association of Pakistan in Karachi and Lahore respectively and became the Chairman at the Karachi branch.
Three years later, in 1967, he received his FRCP (Fellows of RCP) degree from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in London, UK. The following year he began the Applied Nutritional Research and Training Program. From 1969-70, Dr. Ibrahim served as Chairman at the Pakistan National Science Council in Islamabad, West Pakistan.
Following the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 after nine-months of genocide, Dr. Ibrahim returned to the country and retired from government duty, engaging wholeheartedly in his work as a physician, in his social work and in the diabetic health care program. He renamed the Diabetic Association of Pakistan to Bangladesh Diabetic Somiti (Diabetic Association of Bangladesh or DAB for short). The organisation is also known by 'Bangladesh Diabetic Association' or BADAS for short. Initially when the organisation was formed in 1956 there was no indoor facilities at Segun Bagicha. Patients in need of hospitalisation were sent to other hospitals. However, by the beginning of 1970s few short-stay beds were established to take care of the serious patients.
Dr. Ibrahim was aware of the quality of the service provided to the patients. He used to tell patients: "We are grateful to you for giving us the opportunity to serve". Deep empathy and compassion were characteristics of his dealing with patients, especially those who were poor and in pain. He also motivated other doctors to serve the patients with empathy. He included social welfare, health education, nutritional education and rehabilitation in the diabetes healthcare delivery system. He always believed that an institution achieves its goal and excellence neither by bricks and mortar, nor by machine or metal, but by its human resources. He spent all his life in developing talented human resources.
Over the years, the clinic has turned into a diabetes care and research complex at Shahbag, Dhaka. After the death of Prof Ibrahim in 1989, the highrise building which houses BADAS was renamed as 'Ibrahim Memorial Diabetes Centre'.
The Diabetic Association of Bangladesh is managed by a 32-member National Council comprising heads of universities, financial institutions, research organisations, donor agencies, community organisations as well as social leaders and government officers. Eighteen (18) members from the life member category and 6 members from the Affiliated Association category are directly elected by the representative life members and Affiliated Association members respectively in the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
BADAS' Diabetes Care and Research Complex, now converted into a large modern diabetic hospital, has both indoor and outdoor treatment facilities and it provides pathological and X-ray services. The hospital is World Health Organisation's regional collaborating centre for diabetes research in Southeast Asia. It serves about 300 outdoor patients daily and has about 461 paying and 80 non-paying beds and also 89 cabins. There are about 310 doctors, 171 paramedics and 523 nurses associated with BADAS. It employs 4,678 staff and has over 350 volunteers.
The organisation has about 102 health care facilities and 60 affiliated organisations throughout the country including in Bagerhat, Bhola, Cox's Bazar, Gaibandha, Jhendiah, Kishoreganj, Magura, Sunamganj and Tangail.
Following the guidance and philosophy of its founder, the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh has upheld its vision that no diabetic should die untreated, unemployed or unfed even if poor and all people shall be provided with affordable health care service.
Starting with only 39 patients in 1956, BADAS, along with its affiliates, now serves the largest number of registered diabetic patients receiving regular and comprehensive health care under a single umbrella in the whole world. At the end of financial year 2012 (July 2011 - June 2012) the total number of registered patients was 2,110,146 of which 251,370 were registered as new patients.
In 1980 DAB established the Bangladesh Institute of Research and Rehabilitation in Diabetes, Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders (BIRDEM) at Shahbag, Dhaka, to produce qualified manpower in diabetes, endocrine and metabolism. The out-patients centre of DAB was also shifted to BIRDEM. Through its Academy, BIRDEM conducts the largest number of postgraduate courses in the private sector. It conducts specialised postgraduate courses for diploma and degrees such as MPhil, MD, PhD, and MS in various medical and health science disciplines under the Postgraduate Faculty of Medicine of the University of Dhaka.
Over the last five decades the Association has created the largest infrastructure and registered patients base in the world for the prevention and care of diabetes. In addition, next to the Government, it is now the largest comprehensive health care provider as well as the health manpower generating organisation in Bangladesh.
In addition to traditional marketing techniques, the Bangladesh Diabetic Association employ innovative modern approach to bring awareness to the masses in this developing nation.
In 2012 a full length feature film called "Dui Beayier Kirti" had been released in cinema halls throughout Bangladesh to create diabetes awareness.
In 1959, three years after it was founded, the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh became a member of the world-renowned International Diabetic Federation (IDF). The IDF is an umbrella organisation of over 200 national diabetes associations in over 160 countries. It represents the interests of the growing number of people with diabetes and those at risk. The Federation has been leading the global diabetes community since 1950 and is a highly respected player in the field.
As a member of IDF, we express solidarity with the vision and mission of IDF in creating global awareness, fight NCD in general and diabetes in particular. We get more training opportunities and exposure, recent updates about diabetes and networking.
Dr. Ahmed Razee, President of Diabetic Association of Bangladesh (2013)
Internationally, BADAS collaborates with leading health organisations in order to make sure the people of Bangladesh receive the best service. These organisations include: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), World Diabetes Foundation (WDF), University of Oslo, Women and Children First UK, ORBIS International, AUS AID and European Union (EU).
BADAS has gained international reputation for its diabetes health care model branded as 'Ibrahim Model'. It has also emerged as a major general health care provider all over Bangladesh. BADAS is contributing, to a large extent, in both undergraduate and postgraduate manpower development in Bangladesh through formal and informal educational and training programs.
From 1972, until the day of his death, Dr. Ibrahim continued working diligently as chairman of the Bangladesh Diabetic Society. At the same time, from 1975 to 1977 Dr. Ibrahim served as Advisor to President Ziaur Rahman for the Health and Population Control, Labour and Human Resources and Social Welfare Ministries. He was involved with many philanthropist efforts, having established many such organizations and served in important capacities at many national institutions.
In 1978 Dr. Ibrahim received the FRCP degree from the Royal College of Physicians in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.