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BGMEA launches state-of-the-art Covid-19 test lab for RMG workers

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has taken an initiative to set up state-of-the-art PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) labs at Chandra, Tongi and at Narayanganj in collaboration with BADAS (Diabetic Association of Bangladesh), a reputed body of doctors in the country.

These labs are capable of accurately detecting high levels of corona virus samples. The Chandra Lab is the 1st of these state-of-the-art labs. The lab was inaugurated on Thursday (June 4) at 11 a.m. via video conference. This lab can test 180 samples per day, which will be further increased later.

The press conference was attended by Salman F. Rahman, MP (Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser), Tipu Munshi, MP (Member of Parliament), Zahid Maleque, MP (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare), K M Abdus Salam, MP (Secretary, Ministry of Labor and Employment), Md. Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, MP (Former President, FBCCI and BGMEA), Atiqul Islam (Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation), Sheikh Fazle Fahim (FBCCI President), Matin Chowdhury (Former President, Bangladesh Textile Mills Association – BTMA), Abdus Salam Murshedy, MP (Former President of BGMEA)., MP, Prof. Dr. AK Azad Khan, (President, Diabetic Association of Bangladesh – BADAS), and Dr. Rubana Huq (President of BGMEA).

Figure: BGMEA has taken an initiative to set up state-of-the-art PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) labs at Chandra, Tongi and at Narayanganj in collaboration with BADAS
Figure: BGMEA has taken an initiative to set up state-of-the-art PCR labs at Chandra, Tongi and at Narayanganj in collaboration with BADAS

These labs are capable of accurately detecting high levels of corona virus samples. The Chandra Lab is the 1st of these state-of-the-art labs. The lab was inaugurated on Thursday (June 4) at 11 a.m. via video conference. This lab can test 180 samples per day, which will be further increased later.

The press conference was attended by Salman F. Rahman, MP (Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser), Tipu Munshi, MP (Member of Parliament), Zahid Maleque, MP (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare), K M Abdus Salam, MP (Secretary, Ministry of Labor and Employment), Md. Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, MP (Former President, FBCCI and BGMEA), Atiqul Islam (Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation), Sheikh Fazle Fahim (FBCCI President), Matin Chowdhury (Former President, Bangladesh Textile Mills Association – BTMA), Abdus Salam Murshedy, MP (Former President of BGMEA)., MP, Prof. Dr. AK Azad Khan, (President, Diabetic Association of Bangladesh – BADAS), and Dr. Rubana Huq (President of BGMEA).

Dr. Rubana Haque started the press conference by greeting everyone, including media houses. The lab was shown for the first time through an audio visual at the conference. At the beginning of the conference, Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque said, “Bangladesh is lagging behind economically due to the COVID epidemic, and so all measures have been taken to keep the factory afloat. We hope that as a result of timely testing, it will be possible to bring the workers back to work through proper treatment.”

Speaking on the topic of the Covid-19 Lab at the conference, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said, “BGMEA represents the garments sector. Millions of readymade garments (RMG) workers are involved in this work so it is our responsibility to protect them. So, thanks to those who have worked to establish this lab? The more samples are collected, the more it will be detected and the sooner it will be possible to cure it.”

Atiqul Islam, Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation, said in a video conference, “In order to prevent Coronavirus, more and more samples need to be tested to identify the patient, determine the patient’s contact and provide proper service to the identified patient. We hope that BGMEA’s lab will play an important role for the garment workers and their families and countrymen. I think it’s important to maintain a safe distance rather than social distance, and factory owners need to find out who is being identified in the factory on a regular basis. ”

Abdus Salam Murshedy, MP, said, “Since the vaccine of COVID 19 has to be followed, it has to be adapted to the lifestyle and stay healthy and run the industry.”

Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin (MP), former President of FBCCI and BGMEA, said, “Workers are an integral part of us. To ensure their safety, a task force has been formed which is constantly monitoring the workers.”

Also, at the conference, Salman F. Rahman, MP (Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser) said addressing the wealthy members of the society, “Those of you who have a large space and money to invest can help by building isolation units.”

Secretary of Ministry of Labor and Employment KM Abdus Salam thanked BGMEA for this lab and said, “Under the direction of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labor and Employment has given guidelines for compliance with the Health Rules. I think this lab set up by everyone is a timely and humane initiative. The ministry is constantly inspecting the mills to see if they are complying with proper hygiene rules.”

Prof. Dr. AK Azad Khan, President, Diabetic Association of Bangladesh (BADAS), said, “Garment workers will benefit from the establishment of the lab. The lab is an advanced lab like the developed world. Once the labs in Chandra, Narayanganj and Chittagong are ready, BGMEA will be able to provide services to all garment workers. We are hopeful that doctors and researchers will be able to complete their regular reporting with their prudence.”

Matin Chowdhury, former President of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) said in his speech, “We have done 10 good deeds together and after 1 work went wrong, the same mistake was repeatedly exposed in front of everyone. So, I request everyone to encourage you to do good deeds.”

Closing speech was given by Dr. Rubana Huq (current President of BGMEA) said, “The readymade garments sector is the economic backbone of Bangladesh. “We cherish any event that has a special role to play in the country’s economic prosperity, solidarity and development.”

She also thanked everyone involved with the lab and added “We are also working to prevent Covid-19 through coordination with the Ministry of Health under the overall direction of the Prime Minister. BGMEA’s great initiative in this disaster will play an important role in coping with the disaster. Workers are the most important thing to us, so we are working to create regular awareness among workers. Taking care of their health, we have taken a number of steps, such as ensuring the social distance of BGMEA workers and taking full responsibility for their treatment. We have contracted private hospitals and BIRDEM Hospital to provide beds for isolation needs.”

To ensure the safety of the workers in the factories and to monitor the compliance of the health rules, BGMEA has formed 6 monitoring teams to ensure hygiene in the factories and has already completed the work of monitoring 502 factories. Launched a hotline for workers, which will help in connecting to the hotline of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University. In addition, Maya and World Health for Telemedicine have joined hands to provide free medical treatment to workers.

Alam of Texibo International Pvt. Ltd. of Singapore, Alam of AKH Group and Matin Chowdhury of Knit Asia were also thanked for their financial support in setting up the Covid-19 Lab.

The conference ended with a music video encouraging everyone related to the sector to work together to tackle this difficult situation.

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Exclusive Interview- Dr. Rubana Huq, President, BGMEA
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