Bangladeshi Cardiologist and National Professor 

(1 December 1929  – 5 December 2023 )

It is said that in a human body, the most sensitive, yet most powerful organ is the heart. We exist because our heart keeps on working. If our brain stops for a few seconds, we will go into a coma, but, if our heart stops even for 1 nano second, we will die in the blink of an eye. That is why it is very crucial for every human being to keep their heart healthy and take proper care of it. However, due to this modern lifestyle, unfortunately, everyone in the world is suffering more or less from heart diseases. In Bangladesh, the risk of death due to heart disease is about 14.31%. It is one of the top 3 causes of death in our country now. In the last 10 years, the death rate due to heart attacks has increased 35 times for men and 48 times for women in Bangladesh. This is quite alarming news for us Bangladeshis. 


Now that we have talked so much about heart, let us now talk about the person who brought heart treatments in our country. If there is a problem, there is also a solution, and the pioneer person who brought the solution to heart problems in Bangladesh was Dr. Abdul Malik. He is considered to be the father of cardiologists in Bangladesh. He was also one of the national professors of Bangladesh. Due to his contribution to medical science in the country, he was given the Independence Award, the highest civilian award of Bangladesh. 


Dr. Abdul Malik contributed in the sector of cardiology not only in the dependent Bangladesh, but also in Pakistan before the independence of Bangladesh. In 1966, the very first open heart surgery in Pakistan was performed at a Military Hospital in a cardiac unit which was inaugurated by him. Similarly, on September 18, 1981, the first open heart surgery in Bangladesh was performed at an institution founded by him.  Therefore we can see his significant role playing equally in both the countries for the treatment of heart issues. 


Let us now dive into knowing more interesting facts about him and his contributions for our country. 

Life of “Abdul Malik” at a glance:

Real Name: Abdul Malik

Date of Birth: 1 December 1929  

Birth Place: (South) Dakshin Surma upazila of Sylhet, the then British India

Date of Death: 5 December 2023

Place of Death: National Heart Foundation Hospital, Dhaka

Buried Place:  Sylhet 

Cause of Death: Pneumonia and old age-related complications

Age: 94

Father’s Name: Moulavi Furqan Ali

Mother’s Name: Syeda Nurunniea Khatun


Matriculation Examination, Sylhet Government Pilot High School, in 1947

Intermediate Examination (ISc),  Sylhet Govt. MC College, Sylhet, in 1949 

MBBS, Dhaka Medical College, in 1954

Higher training, in Cardiology, Hammersmith Hospital, UK, from 1964 to 1966



Brigadier, Bangladesh Army

Trainer, Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology-AFIC, Pakistan, in March 1966

Professor, Cardiology,  Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, from 1970 to 1978

Founder, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Dhaka, in 1978 

Professor, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Dhaka, from 1978 to 1989

Founder and Project director, National Center for Control of Rheumatic Fever and Heart Diseases, from 1987 to 1989 

Founder, President and Advisor, National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, in 1978

Founder president of Bangladesh Cardiac Society from 1980 to 2005 

Founder president, SAARC cardiac Society, during 1976–2000

Member, Expert Panel Committee, World Health Organization (WHO), during 1976–2000

Married to: Ashrafunnesa Khatun

Children: 3; (1 daughter) Fazilatunnesa Malik, (2 sons) Masud Malik, and Manzur Malik

Religion: Islam

Nationality: Bangladeshi

Awards and Achievements:

Independence Day Award, by government of Bangladesh, in 2004

National Professor, by government of Bangladesh, in 2006

Sandoz Gold Award, by Novartis Bangladesh, in 2008

Lifetime achievement award, by Sahera-Hasan Memorial Trust, in 2019

Fellow, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Scotland

Fellow, Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons

Fellow, American College of Cardiology, USA

Fellow, American College of Chest Physicians, USA

Early Life:

The Cardiologist and the National Professor, Abdul Malik, was born on 1 December 1929 at the Dakshin Surma Upazila of Sylhet district in the then British India, currently in Bangladesh. He belonged to a Muslim family. His father’s name was Moulavi Furqan Ali and mother’s name was Syeda Nurunniea Khatun. He spent his childhood in Sylhet and completed his primary education from there. Later he shifted to Dhaka for educational purposes and settled there.


Since his childhood days, he was a meritorious student. After completing his primary education, in 1947, he passed his Matriculation Examinations from Sylhet Government Pilot High School. That time he scored more than 75% marks, which secured him with a first division and star marks. This achievement earned him a government scholarship because such a result was considered to be a notable recognition at that time. 2 years later, in 1949, from MC College, Sylhet, he completed his Intermediate Examinations. That time, he ranked 11th position among all the students in both parts (East and West) of the then Pakistan. 


In the same year, just after passing his IA exams, Dr. Malik moved to Dhaka for tertiary level education. He had a passion to help others, and do social work. So he decided to study medicine. He got himself enrolled into Dhaka Medical College. 5 years later, in 1954, he completed his MBBS degree successfully. 


A (successful) doctor always has a high demand for a job. That is why, Dr. Malik did not have  to wait much and immediately got into a job. Within one year of his graduation, in June 1955, he joined the Pakistan Army Medical Corps.  

Few years of medical practice later, he went to the UK for further higher education in 1963. The UK was and is still considered to be one of the best countries to obtain medical degrees and training. There, he got the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians in 1964 from Glasgow, Scotland. Getting such a recognition within a year of getting there shows his potential and skills. From 1964 to 1966, he received higher training in Cardiology at Hammersmith Hospital, which is a Post Graduate Medical School under Imperial College London. He also took training from some other hospitals in the UK.

After finishing all the training, he did not settle there and returned to his then motherland Pakistan in 1966. With all the knowledge, skills and experiences that he had gathered from the training from the UK, he started to shift his focus for the betterment of the people and society. His career started from now on. 


Even though Abdul Malik is mainly known as a doctor, or more specifically Cardiologist, he was also an Army person. He served the Government and retired from the rank of Brigadier. 


His career and contributions as a doctor throughout his entire life are huge. He had played vital roles in people’s lives for over 55 years. Before the independence of Bangladesh, he had been treating people with different heart diseases and he kept doing so until his last phase of life. 


His career began in March 1966, when he first set up a cardiac unit at Military Hospital Rawalpindi, Pakistan. This hospital is currently called the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology-AFIC. He served there as a trainee to the nurses and other relevant staffers to run the unit smoothly. In March 1970, this center performed the very first successful open-heart surgery in Pakistan. For this achievement, he was awarded nationally and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. 


In the same year, in June, he came to Dhaka and joined the Institute of Postgraduate Medicine and Research at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University. There he established a cardiac unit and worked as a Professor of Cardiology till June 1978. By then, Dhaka was the capital city of independent Bangladesh. This is why Dr. Abdul Malik is considered as the pioneer or father of Cardiologist in Bangladesh. 


In 1978, Dr. Malik founded National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, situated at Shere Bangla Nagar, Dhaka. There he worked as a Professor until 1989.
In this institution, the first open heart surgery in Bangladesh was done on 18 September 1981, 10 years after Bangladesh became independent. 


He also established the National Center for Control of Rheumatic Fever and Heart Diseases, located in Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital, Dhaka. There, he served as a Project Director from 1987 to 1989. He did this role after he retired from government military service. 


Again in 1978, Dr. Abdul Malik opened the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, located at Mirpur, Dhaka. He served as the Founder-President and Advisor of this foundation. The hospital was formed at his initiative with some medical and non-medical social workers. Almost 45 years later, now it has lots of hospital stakeholders and due to its quality service, thousands of people from different socio-economic classes visit this hospital regularly for getting the best heart treatments at relatively low costs

In the recent past, on 31 May 2018, this institution received the “World No Tobacco Day” award by the governmental Health Service Division of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for its contribution to tobacco control in the country and for playing a vital role for prevention & control of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Bangladesh.


Dr. Malik was also involved with different health and doctors related organizations. 

He founded the Bangladesh Cardiac Society and served as its president from 1980 to 2005. There, all the cardiologists of Bangladesh were involved in the group. He was also associated with SAARC cardiac Society. 

During the years 1976 to 2000, he played some key roles as a member of the Expert Panel Committee of World Health Organization (WHO) on cardiovascular disease. 


All of his roles and contributions in different national and global sectors earned him many awards throughout his life. 

Awards and Achievements:

Dr. Malik’s contributions for the society can not be measured by the number of awards. He is more recognized because of his kindness and dedication than the awards and achievements. Still, let us know the official acknowledgements that he had received from both national and international organizations. 


In March 2004, he was given the Independence Award by the government of Bangladesh in recognition of his outstanding contributions to national life in the medical sector.  This award is the highest state award organized by the government of Bangladesh and it is awarded to the individuals for their contributions in Health Education and Medical Science.  The award carries a gold medal, Tk 1 lakh and a certificate. The then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia distributed the award to Dr. Malik  at a function at the Osmani Memorial Hall.


On 02 February 2006, he was appointed by the government of Bangladesh as one of the National Professors for five years as per Bangladesh National Professor Resolution. Like the previous award, this award is arranged by the government of Bangladesh and given to the individuals for their contributions in health education and medical science. 

In that year, he was one of the four educationists to earn this achievement. He was given Taka 15,000 as honorarium every month with other facilities.


Besides getting recognitions from the government, he had also achieved various awards and acknowledgements from different local and international societies.  

In 2008, he earned the Sandoz Gold Award, which was given by Novartis Bangladesh. It is one of the Bangladeshi Pharmaceutical companies. 


Very recently, in 2019, Dr. Abdul Malik was given a Lifetime achievement award for his contributions to health service. The award was organized by Sahera-Hasan Memorial Trust in marking 20 years of Sahera-Hasan Memorial Hospital. Since Dr Abdul Malik was ill and could not attend the program, his daughter Dr Fazilatun Nesa Malik and son-in-law Dr Khondaker Abdul Awal Rizvi received the crest on his behalf.


He was also honored with different fellowships from both international and national physician societies. He was considered as one of the fellows of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (Scotland), Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons, American College of Cardiology and American College of Chest Physicians. 


Apart from all these, he was loved and respected by the common people, those who got great treatments and overall service from him. 

Personal Life

Even though he was such a highly experienced, skilled, knowledgeable, and award-winning physician, Dr. Malik was always humble and down to earth. His character, personality, kindness and overall attitude was loved by all. There was no egoistic or show-off behavior from him. Not only was he a successful physician or doctor, but as a successful educator, he had taught the new or young doctors how to treat patients with care, respect and kindness. 


Other doctors claim that Dr. Malik could see health beyond just treating patients. He was a visionary, and a different kind of doctor. He prioritized prevention and research aspects, and that is why he also worked extensively on tobacco control. That is why his hard work paid off when his founded institution National Heart Foundation got the international award. 


An interesting fact about him is that he had done treatments to Moulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani. After the independence of Bangladesh, when Bhashani got a heart attack, it was Dr. Malik, along with another doctor, who had brought Bhashani in a helicopter and admitted Bhashani to PG Hospital (now known as BSMMU-Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University). That time Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujibor would regularly visit Bhashani in the hospital and so he knew Dr. Malik and his contributions personally and directly. Bangabondhu also knew and acknowledged Dr. Malik’s contributions in the then West Pakistan. 


In marital life, Dr Abdul Malik was married to Ashrafunnesa Khatun, who was a social service worker. The couple together had three children; one daughter, Fazilatunnesa Malik, who is currently a professor of cardiology and Senior Chief Consultant at the National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute in Dhaka, and two sons, Masud Malik, who is a businessman or industrialist, and Manzur Malik, who is a researcher and presently residing and working in Canada. All of his children are well-established. Like father, the daughter Fazilatunnessa is well respected and loved by her patients due to her good behavior, service and treatments. 


That is why, the death of such a legendary man brought sadness throughout the country. 


Bangladesh had lost such a gem very recently, on 5 December, 2023, at around 9:30 am. Dr. Malik was suffering from pneumonia and other old-age related issues for quite a long time. He was undergoing treatments at the National Heart Foundation Hospital, and he passed away there. The institution which he had founded was the place where he had his last breath.   


The news of his death brought sadness among the Bangladeshi doctors of all sectors. Even the commoners who got treatment from him or his foundations mourned over the news. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed deep shock and sorrow at the death of Dr Abdul Malik. In a condolence message, she acknowledged his contributions for the country and said that he will be remembered forever. 


Dr. Malik’s first namaz-e-janaza was held at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) on the same day after Zuhr prayers. Then his second namaz-e-janaza was done the next day at the National Heart Foundation in Mirpur. He was then taken to his home district, Sylhet and was laid to rest at his village. 

With this, an empty space has been created in the world of Cardiologists in Bangladesh.


Bangladeshis are quite lucky to get services from such a man till his 95 years of age. Dr. Abdul Malik dedicated his almost whole life for the betterment of people. His philanthropic efforts and lasting impact on the field of cardiology in Bangladesh will be forever remembered and acknowledged by us. His place as a dedicated educator and social worker can not be replaced. 


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এই ওয়েবসাইটের সমস্ত বিষয়বস্তু সরল বিশ্বাসে এবং শুধুমাত্র সাধারণ তথ্যের উদ্দেশ্যে প্রদান করা হয়েছে। একটি জীবনী তথ্যের সম্পূর্ণতা, নির্ভরযোগ্যতা বা সঠিকতা সম্পর্কে কোন গ্যারান্টি দেয় না। এই ওয়েবসাইটের উপাদানের ফলস্বরূপ আপনি যে কোনও পদক্ষেপ গ্রহণ করেন তা সম্পূর্ণরূপে আপনার নিজের ঝুঁকিতে। একটি জীবনী আমাদের ওয়েবসাইট ব্যবহার করার ফলে কোনো ক্ষতি বা ক্ষতির জন্য দায়ী নয়।