Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday stressed the need for establishing a world standard national biobank to innovate and discover medical and other branches of life sciences disciplines in Bangladesh.
"Let us work together to make this biobank a reality, a symbol of optimism that will lead to a better, healthier world," she said.
The prime minister said this in a video message broadcast at a roundtable titled "Biobanking with Bangladesh: A joint approach to disease management and prevention" held at Brussels, the capital of Belgium.
She said that the event which was a collaborative initiative taken by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Embassy of Bangladesh in Brussels and the European Union, is aimed at laying the groundwork for establishment of our national biobank.
A biobank is generally defined as a collection of human biological samples and associated information organized in a systematic way for research purposes.
Welcoming all participating in the roundtable, Sheikh Hasina said, "We cordially welcome the distinguished individuals and organizations present here to form a comprehensive strategic collaboration with us and make long-term commitment towards the enhancement of the health and well-being of millions of citizens in Bangladesh and beyond."
The premier said Bangladesh has made commendable progress in clinical care, medical education and research in recent years with the establishment of a number of medical universities and institutions.
As part of our constitutional and global commitment to provide universal health coverage, they have set up about 18,500 community clinics and health centers at rural level, she said
"We have undertaken various measures to introduce state-of-the-art facilities in the medical sector," she added.
However, the lack of biomaterials with reliable clinical data infrastructure, is one of the major reasons why Bangladesh is underrepresented in wider medical research, she opined.
She said, "For the development of translational research capacity in Bangladesh, creating a world-class biobank is critical".
The prime minister said that Biobank will promote innovation and discoveries in medical and other branches of life sciences disciplines.
"It could lead to significant improvement in ability to diagnose, prevent and provide personalized care," she hoped.
The premier said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, the apex postgraduate medical institution in Bangladesh with a 2650-bed hospital, 8 faculties, 68 departments, and about 500 faculty members, has the ability to host such facilities.
Contributing to this biobank is not limited to only a financial choice; she said, adding that it's a humanitarian deed, a symbol of hope for a world where everyone has access to quality healthcare.
"I assert that your contribution surpasses mere numerical values. It symbolizes the preservation of life, the safeguarding of family, and the empowerment of a nation, which in turn will contribute to overall research capacity regionally," she continued.