About Diabetic Association of Bangladesh (BADAS)

BIRDEM: a brief history

BIRDEM (Bangladesh Institute of Research and Rehabilitation in Diabetes, Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders) is the first institute of diabetes, endocrine and metabolic diseases in Bangladesh. Though primarily focusing on diabetes care, it is now taking care of patients of all disciplines, hence later named as BIRDEM General Hospital. It is a tertiary care hospital. It is now a 16-storied building with nearly 600 beds.

The founder of BIRDEM, Professor Mohammad Ibrahim (1911-1989) was very much interested in social works, like social rehabilitation of patients. In the mid-fifties, he first thought of diabetes care in this country. He understood it very well that diabetes might not be cured; but persons affected would be able to maintain productive and respectful life. He thought the matter as a socio-medical care. Although the real extent of the problem of diabetes in the country was not evident, he could foresee the present picture at that time and organized a group of social workers, philanthropists and professionals. With the help of them he established the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) on February 28, 1956.

The motto of Professor Ibrahim was, ‘No diabetic patient shall die untreated, unfed or unemployed even if poor’. He used to address the patients by saying that ‘We are grateful to you for giving us the opportunity to serve’. He always aspired to serve the patients with empathy.

Diabetes care as out-patient service only was started in a tin-shed building at Segun Bagicha, Dhaka in 1957. There were no indoor facilities initially. Patients in need of hospitalization were sent to other hospitals. In the beginning of 70’s few short-stay beds were established to take care of the seriously ill patients. He included social welfare, health education, nutrition and rehabilitation in the diabetes healthcare delivery system.

In 1976 a land was allocated in Shahbag of Dhaka by the Bangladesh government for the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh (Bengali acronym ‘Bangladesh Diabetic Somiti’- BADAS). Upon this land foundation of BIRDEM was laid in 1977. The diabetes care facility of Segun Bagicha was shifted to this building. At first it was named as ‘Bangladesh Institute of Diabetes and Rehabilitation’. Later it was changed to the current name ‘BIRDEM’. Professor M. Ibrahim created and built up this institute with all his commitments; BIRDEM is the symbol of dedication of this great man; it is proclaiming the glory of this philanthropist. In 1982 it was designated as WHO Collaborating Center. After the demise of Professor M. Ibrahim in 1989, the diabetes care complex of BIRDEM has been named as ‘Ibrahim Memorial Diabetes Centre’.

BIRDEM General Hospital-2 is the wing for women and children with nearly 150 beds. It is situated in the historic site of Segun Bagicha. It started working in 2012.