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Need in Needle

  • Published at 11:03 am October 21st, 2017
Need in Needle

Gumti Needle Lab, a modern three storied medical technology factory that includes a Clean Room of 5,380-sqft, has been set up in Gazipur. The facility uses cutting-edge technology to produce safety lock needles which cannot be reused, and high quality vacutainers (blood collection tubes). The aim of the venture is to manufacture and market modern and versatile medical equipment such as syringes, adhering to international standards. All 300 machines in the factory are fully automated and imported from South Korea.

Dr Anam Akhter is the founder and chief operating officer of the medical factory. She obtained her MBBS degree from the United Kingdom and Spain, and has a long term vision to alleviate human suffering in the face of diseases and epidemics. The doctor shared her perspectives with Weekend Tribune in an interview.

What inspired you to start this factory?

Bangladesh is struggling to ensure affordable and equitable healthcare for its citizens. We don’t have specific national policies that cover medical insurance or provide an alternate safety net. This is why I felt compelled to start an initiative directed towards the advancing of the healthcare sector.

What problem(s) are you addressing through this initiative?

Most hospitals and clinics don’t have equipment that is up to date. This is due to the expenses that need to be incurred to get the latest products. We are producing these from scratch. The fully-automated machines can produce up to “millions” of needles per day, quite literally, for hospitals to purchase at very reasonable prices.

How reasonable are these products in comparison to those that are being imported?

They're much more reasonable compared to the imported products—at least a difference of three taka per piece.

What are some of the bumps on the road to setting up this factory?

We’ve had several bumps on the road. The licensing and necessary permits come with bureaucratic challenges which can be time consuming. Sometimes the construction of our factory facility was delayed or even stopped because of the weather. Also, releasing machines from the Chittagong port is not easy, and requires you to be not just patient but lucky as well.

What are your future plans with this initiative?

We would like to set up a trust to provide free diagnosis and treatment for the underprivileged people of our country.

What would you like to tell our readers?

Anyone who can give back to their country should give back. And I believe everyone can, in different ways. There are too many vulnerable people in our communities. Even if you go abroad for academic degrees, I would urge the young generation to come back and practice here. Help our people to the best of your capacities. If we all got involved, the number of issues we face as a society will definitely be going down.