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COVID-19 and Bangladesh

During any kind of national/international disaster, Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK) tries to respond as early as possible through rescue, medical services, reconstruction of damaged houses, and food distribution (including safe drinking water).

GK is one of the members of Bangladesh’s National Disaster Management Council, led by the Prime Minister. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, GK began raising awareness about how to prevent COVID-19 through activities such as maintaining social/physical distancing, wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, etc., as recommended by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. All the GK hospitals and clinics, including the kidney dialysis center (the largest in South Asia), provide treatment and also use preventive measures to prevent health care service providers from contracting the disease. A team of GK researchers developed a low-cost COVID-19 rapid detection kit (More at,

Now, Bangladesh is under total lockdown. Poor people (especially jobless day laborers) cannot earn enough to maintain basic family needs. Some are risking their lives to work. Although the Government of Bangladesh is providing support, the private sector needs to step up.

At this moment, we provide 10,000 families with monthly meal supplies. But we want to raise enough financing to provide monthly meal supplies for at least 100,000 families. For this, we are asking for your support.

Please feel free to communicate with us.

[email protected]
[email protected]

Honors and awards of GK

1972: Certificate of CommendationGeneral Muhammad Ataul Gani Osmani (M.A.G. Osmani, his name accompanies the title Bangabir), Commander-In-Chief of Bangladesh Forces during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, was awarded Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury with the Certificate of Commendation—For contributions during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.

1974: Swedish Youth Peace Prize, Sweden—In recognition of Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury’s role in founding Gonoshasthaya Kendra and the provision of primary health care to rural communities.

1977: Independence Award, Bangladesh (highest state award given by the government of Bangladesh)—Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury was awarded the “Independence Award” to recognize Gonoshasthaya Kendra’s innovative family planning and primary health care programs.

1981: Maulana Bhashani Award, Bangladesh—For Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury’s efforts in the health and family planning sector in Bangladesh.

1983: Donation to GK of one of the first ceramic vessels used to manufacture Penicillin—Dr. Norman George Heatley OBE, one of the pioneers of Penicillin manufacturing, donated one of the original ceramic Penicillin vessels (from the first six) to Gonoshasthaya Kendra. The other five vessels are preserved at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

1985: Ramon Magsaysay Award, Philippines (popularly known as the “Asian Nobel Prize”)—For Community Leadership, the Board of Trustees recognizes Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury’s engineering of Bangladesh’s new drug policy (NDP 1982), eliminating unnecessary pharmaceuticals, and making comprehensive medical care more available and affordable for ordinary citizens.

1989: Rear Admiral Mahbub Ali Khan Memorial Award, Bangladesh—For special contributions to the health sector of Bangladesh.

1992: The Right Livelihood Award, Sweden (popularly known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”)—In recognition of Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury and Gonoshasthaya Kendra’s joint role in creating an outstanding record of promotion of health and human development.

2001: One World Action Award, United Kingdom—Award from One World Action, U.K.-based charity (closed in 2012).

2002: Public Health Heroes Award, United States (University of California, Berkeley, USA)—In recognition of Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury for bringing health care to the underserved rural population in Bangladesh.

2007: Fr. Tong Memorial Award, India (Voluntary Health Association of India [VHAI])—Awarded to Gonoshasthaya Kendra with the seventh Fr. Tong Memorial Award for the outstanding community health professional for exemplary contribution to health and development. 

2009: Doctor of Humanitarian Sciences Award, Canada—Awarded to Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury from the World Organization of Natural Medicine, Canada.

Gonoshasthaya Kendra has received numerous other honors and awards to recognize the organization’s diverse people-oriented development activities and Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury’s role as a Freedom Fighter, social activist, and innovator in the fields of health care, education, women’s empowerment, advocacy, and disaster management, etc.

Founding and works of GK

GK is a registered Public Charitable Trust. Established in 1972, it is one of the oldest non-governmental, non-profit, and national level organizations in Bangladesh. GK is a people-oriented healthcare-based organization, which provides community and institutional services in the fields of healthcare, women’s empowerment, disaster management, education, agriculture, and basic rights-based advocacy.

During the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, medical doctors, and other Samaritans set up a 480-bed makeshift hospital in Melaghar, Bisramganj in Tripura State, India, adjacent to the Bangladesh border. The “Bangladesh Field Hospital” was the only field hospital run by Bangladeshi physicians for wounded Freedom Fighters and civilian refugees. Post-independence, some of the volunteers at this hospital came together and decided to provide health care in rural communities as part of a national effort to rebuild the war-torn country.

Over the past five decades, GK expanded its services to cover approximately 1.5 million people in 541 villages throughout 56 Unions in 32 Upazilas in 20 Districts across the country. GK serves mostly vulnerable and low-income groups through its 43 rural sub-centers and 6 academic hospitals. GK has many other programs, too. For instance, to reduce carbon emissions, GK plants trees in an afforestation program, and it encourages people to participate in such programs to improve society. In another GK program, seasonal (crop-based) credit is extended to poor farmers. There are many more. Please visit our Facebook page and website for more details.