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Digitally shy lawmakers of “Digital Bangladesh”

Technology is a catalyst, not an element, of increasing productivity. The desire of improvement is central to all successes, where technology accelerates the rate of achievement. Bangladesh government can truly claim the credit of dramatically improving the child and maternal mortality rates through an efficiently run nationwide scheme of immunization. Political goodwill has been the driver of this success.

One physician, Dr. ASM Amjad Hossain, has taken this achievement farther. He became the first recipient of “Gates Vaccine Innovation Award” for applying the simplest form of technology resulting dramatic output. He ensured that a child’s parents and the vaccinator exchange each other’s mobile phone number. And they remind each other once follow up dose of the vaccine is due. It ensures timely completing the child’s immunization process.

Dr. ASM Amjad Hossain’s administrative decision of exchanging the mobile phone numbers has guaranteed millions of rural children’s lifelong immunity from fatal diseases. Bill Gates describes in his own words.

Dr. Hossain, being a noble citizen, is presumed to be a voter too. Unlike him, the lawmaker he elects is feared to be light-years away from applying basic technology in official businesses. Last year, the parliament secretariat has created email IDs for 350 lawmakers. Members of parliament, however, don’t use their email accounts. As a result, the parliament secretariat has returned to the centuries old snail mail.

Parliament sources said the secretariat used to send all notices such as to call sessions, the order of the day, standing committee notices and working papers. Voters from any constituency can contact their MPs about any issue. So emails could establish easy communications between voters and lawmakers.”

“We know most of the MPs are not using the email IDs, so we still need to serve manual notice as well,” Mahfuzur Rahman, secretary of the parliament told the Dhaka Tribune last week. “I have already talked to the new speaker about it, and she told us to serve another notice to all the MPs regarding it,” he said.

Dhaka Tribune reports.

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