Medical Physics History in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, the first activities of Medical Physics education started in 1994 at the Physics Department of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). In 1996, a co-operation in conference/workshop and training of Medical Physics between Bangladesh and Germany was started by the Task Group-K16 “Medical Physics in the Developing Countries” of the German Society for Medical Physics (DGMP). Five seminars/workshops were organized in Bangladesh between 1996 and 2000 and attended by 70-80 participants in each year (physicists and radio-oncologists) with the initiative of Prof. Dr. Golam Abu Zakaria. The main goal of these seminars was to disseminate the information regarding the importance of medical physics and to motivate the physicists to become medical physicists. One of the main urges of these seminars was to open Medical Physics course in Bangladesh. Then the first impetus came from that time to start a Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering in Bangladesh. Dr. Golam Abu Zakaria, Professor of medical physics and the initiator of the above mentioned seminars, was trying to open a department in the public universities like BUET. However, at that time, this subject was new in Bangladesh and it was difficult to open such a department in public universities for several reasons.
In 2000, a private University called Gono Bishwabidyalay (University) came forward to accept his proposal of starting a master program both in Medical Physics and in Biomedical Engineering. The department was the result of enormous discussions with the experts from the different public and private universities and authorities of University Grant Commission (UGC). This was the first attempt to establish a full-fledged Master course in Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering officially in 2001.The University Grant Commission of Bangladesh officially recognized this course (with 2 years of duration). Later in 2005, a four-year Bachelor course was launched. The syllabus of these courses is based on the documents of DGMP, AAPM and IAEA that covers all important aspects of medical physics according to the need of Bangladesh.
From the beginning, a collaboration program has been materializing between Heidelberg University, Germany and Gono University, Bangladesh to provide quality education and training. In the years 2003-2006, 19 students and 5 teachers were educated and trained in German Cancer Research Center and Heidelberg University Hospital under the student-teacher-exchange program between the Gono University and the Heidelberg University financed by DAAD (German Academic Exchange Program). This collaboration was extended in 2014 including Mannheim Medical Center for another 4 years from 2014-2017, educating 40 MP for research, teaching and clinical practice in Germany and in Bangladesh. With the help of appropriate resources and the experienced and the young dynamic teachers approximately 30 MSc and 73 BSc degrees were reached. To support the education in the future, e-learning platforms will be set up and research networks will be established to encourage the already existing research work. MPBME already has expanded its cooperation with many hospitals and universities in Bangladesh and abroad specially in Germany, India and China.
More than 25 of the medical physics master degree passed students are working as medical physicists in most of the radiotherapy departments of public and private hospitals in Bangladesh, and some of them are involved in teaching at the medical physics department of Gono University.
For promoting medical physics education, training and providing quality service in all aspects of medical physics, a society called “Bangladesh Medical Physics Society” (BMPS) has been formed in 2009 which is registered by the Government of Bangladesh. BMPS is also officially recognized as an affiliated member by the Asia-Oceania Federation of Organizations for Medical Physics (AFOMP) and International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP). BMPS regularly organizes national and international seminars, conferences, workshops in cooperation with the relevant international organizations. The total number of member of BMPS is more than 250 including associate and promoting members and gradually increasing every year. BMPS is pursuing public awareness program for dissemination of the role of medical physicists in all over the country.