Lives of the fellows

Nurul Islam

b.1 April 1928 d.24 January 2013
MB BS Calcutta(1951) MRCP(1954) TDD(1955) FCCP(1962) FCPS(1963) FRCP Edin(1966) FRCP(1977) DSc Ansted University Malaysia(1999) FCGP Bangladesh

Nurul Islam was the founder and vice chancellor of the University of Science and Technology, Chittagong, and a founding fellow of the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences. He was born in Mohammadpur village, Chandanaish district, Chittagong, the youngest of eight children of Syedur Rahman, a school teacher, and Gulmeher Begum. His father died when he was just four and he was brought up by his mother and other relatives. He attended Gasbaria School, Chittagong, and Calcutta Islamia Science College, and went on to study medicine at Calcutta University, qualifying in 1951.

In 1952 he joined the staff of Dhaka Medical College. In 1954 he had the chance to undertake further training at the Whittington Hospital in London. He gained his MRCP in 1954 and a diploma in tuberculosis diseases from the University of Wales in 1955.

In 1956 he returned home, and joined the Mitford Medical School as a lecturer in medicine and was also given the tuberculosis ward as an additional responsibility. In 1958 he was appointed as an associate professor at Dhaka Medical College. In 1962 he became a professor at Chittagong Medical College. From 1962 to 1963, he was a Nuffield fellow, working with Sheila Sherlock [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XI, p.514] at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

In 1964 he returned home, and a year later was appointed joint director of the Institute of Postgraduate Medicine and Research, Dhaka. In 1989, he established the Institute of Applied Health and Science, which later became the University of Science and Technology, Chittagong. He was also personal physician to the Bangladeshi president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

He founded the National Tuberculosis Society and ADHUNIK (an anti-tobacco organisation). In 1982 he was responsible for establishing Bangladesh’s acclaimed national drug policy, which encouraged the development of a local pharmaceutical industry. He was chairman of the Bangladesh first national AIDS committee and national drug administration committee. He wrote 27 books and over 100 articles in international medical journals.

He received many awards, including the president’s gold medal (in 1963), the Sitara-i-Imtiaz award from Pakistan (in 1970), the gold medal from the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences (in 1982) and the World Health Organization commemorative medal (in 1990 and 1992). In 1987 he was honoured with the title of ‘national professor’.

In 1962 he married Anwara Islam (née Ahmed), a professor at Dhaka Education Extension Center. They had two daughters, Nur-E-Jannat Ayesha Dina and Neena Islam, and a son, Ahmed Iftekharul Islam.

RCP editor

[Dhaka Courier 31 January 2013; University of Science and Technology, Chittagong. Brief Life History of National Professor Dr Nurul Islam – accessed 23 August 2016; Quantum Method National Professor Dr Nurul Islam – accessed 23 August 2016; Wikipedia Nurul Islam (physician) – accessed 23 August 2016]

(Volume XII, page web)

<< Back to List