Syed Modasser Ali

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Syed Modasser Ali
Syed modasser ali.jpg
Syed Modasser Ali
Born (1946-02-01) 1 February 1946 (age 72)
EducationDhaka Medical College
Known forCommunity Ophthalmology
Medical career
ProfessionEye Surgeon
InstitutionsBangladesh Government, WHO, National Institute of Ophthalmology (Bangladesh), Dhaka University
Sub-SpecialtiesAnterior segment surgery, Cataract, Public Health
ResearchCommunity Ophthalmology
AwardsWHO World No Tobacco Day Award 2010,[1] BCOS Lifetime Achievement Award 2008[2]

Syed Modasser Ali FRCS, FRCOpth is an ophthalmic surgeon from Bangladesh and was the Health and Family Welfare and Social Welfare adviser to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, from 2009 to 2013.[3][4] He is the founder of Mojibunnessa Eye Hospital, the first registered[5] eye hospital in Bangladesh and founding editor-in-chief of the Bangladesh Ophthalmic Journal, the first peer-review ophthalmic journal in Bangladesh.[6] He is regarded as one of the pioneers of Community Ophthalmology (public eye health) and his book titled Community Ophthalmology, published in 1985, is considered to be the first textbook on the subject by the British Journal of Ophthalmology.[7] He is a recipient of Bangladesh National Personality Research Centre's Freedom Fighter Award for his services during the Bangladesh Liberation War.[8] He was also an Executive Board member[9] of the World Health Organization. In 2013, Ali was named as one of the 20 most innovative surgeons alive by healthcare education website[10]


Ali was the Health and Family Welfare and Social Welfare adviser to the Bangladeshi prime minister, from 2009 to 2013, with the full rank and status of a senior cabinet minister.[11][12] He was one of seven advisers (one of only five with a portfolio) to the government providing the prime minister and the cabinet advise on various national and international issues.[13][14] He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council, the highest political authority for consideration of development projects in Bangladesh, during this time.

He was the Director-General[15] of Health Services for the Bangladesh government in 2001, Dean of the Faculty of Postgraduate Medicine and Research at Dhaka University from 1998 to 2001, Chairman of the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC)[16] from 1998 to 2003 and Director (and Professor Emeritus) of the National Institute of Ophthalmology[17] in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 1997 to 2001. Under his chairmanship BMRC was awarded the prestigious WHO 50th Anniversary Primary Healthcare Development Award in 1998.[18] He was also the president of the Ophthalmic Society of Bangladesh and in January 2015 the first peer-reviewed ophthalmic journal in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Ophthalmic Journal, was launched with Ali as the founding editor-in-chief. He is currently the chairman of the governing body of Dhaka City College, one of the oldest colleges in Bangladesh,[19] a member of the board of directors of Beacon Pharmaceuticals Limited (Bangladesh), the first manufacturer of anticancer drugs in Bangladesh,[20] and has returned as Chairman of the Bangladesh Medical Research Council.[21]

Ali has been a lifelong anti-smoking campaigner and played a central role in the banning of smoking in public places [22] in his home country of Bangladesh where nearly 50% of adults use tobacco for recreational purposes.[23] In his capacity as the health and family welfare adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh he oversaw changes in legislation to fully comply with the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control[24] and was awarded the WHO World No Tobacco Day Award 2010 for his work on tobacco control.[1] He was also the Vice-President of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) representing the WHO South-East Asia Region from 2010 to 2012.[25]

Political life[edit]

While studying for his medical degree at Dhaka Medical College Dr Ali was elected as the Vice-President of Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of Bangladesh Awami League. However, since then he has terminated any official affiliation with the Awami League, but has been the personal physician of the current Awami League president, Sheikh Hasina. He was active in negotiations with the Bangladesh caretaker government regarding sending Hasina, who was detained on corruption charges, abroad for treatment,[26][27][28][29] and threatened to sue the Bangladesh caretaker government over negligence regarding Hasina's treatment during her detention.[30] He also served as a government adviser to Sheikh Hasina, the current prime minister of Bangladesh,[31] and was involved in the formulation of the Prime Minister's peace model presented at the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly.[32]


Ali has authored several books on community ophthalmology and politics.

  • Community Ophthalmology, Anamoy Publishers 1985, OCLC 794112476
  • Shontrasher Majhe Boshobash (Living within terrorism), Anannya 1993, ISBN 984-412-007-1
  • Shat Dashoker Chhatra Rajniti (60s' student politics), National Publication 2003

Personal life[edit]

Ali was born in Gopalganj, Bangladesh in 1946. He is married and has three children.


  1. ^ a b "WHO World No Tobacco Day 2010 Awards – the winners". Retrieved 29 May 2010.
  2. ^ "The Daily Star, Bangladesh: 8 lakh suffer from blindness". Retrieved 26 July 2008.
  3. ^ "Bangladesh Government: The Prime Minister's Advisers". Retrieved 8 February 2009.
  4. ^ "The New Nation: Move for small clean govt: Distribution of some portfolios raises questions". Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  5. ^ "Mojibunnessa Eye Hospital: About us". Retrieved 17 September 2009.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Bangladesh Ophthalmic Journal, Volume 1 Issue 1". Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Community Ophthalmology, Book Review, BJO" (PDF). Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  8. ^ "The Bangladesh Observer: 26 personalities get Gunijan Awards". Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  9. ^ "3rd Annual Meeting, School Health Component of the Mega Country Network, WHO" (PDF). Retrieved 30 November 2007.
  10. ^ "Healthcare Administration Degree Programs: 20 Most Innovative Surgeons Alive Today". Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  11. ^ "The Financial Express: Hasina's maiden day as PM". Retrieved 8 January 2009.
  12. ^ "Prime Minister's Office, Bangladesh – Advisers". Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  13. ^ "The New Nation: News analysis: Competence of ministers". Retrieved 8 January 2009.
  14. ^ "Siddique made adviser". 7 January 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  15. ^ "Fourth Annual Meeting of School Health Component of Mega Country Network, WHO" (PDF). Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  16. ^ "Eighteenth Meeting of the Ministers of Health of SEAR, SEARO, WHO". WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011.
  17. ^ "Report of WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA Coordinating Committee on Health (CCH), WHO". Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  18. ^ Harun-Ar-Rashid (2012). "Bangladesh Medical Research Council". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  19. ^ "Dhaka City College governing body". Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  20. ^ "Beacon Pharmaceuticals Limited - LankaBangla Financial Portal". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) Executive Committee". Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  22. ^ "BSMMU, Dhaka Medical made smoking free". The Daily Star. 15 February 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  23. ^ "Global Adult Tobacco Survey: Bangladesh Report 2009" (PDF). World Health Organization, Country Office for Bangladesh. OCLC 702354547. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  24. ^ "WHO Bangladesh: Launching Ceremony of Global Adult Tobacco Survey". Retrieved 19 March 2010.[dead link]
  25. ^ "WHO FCTC: Bureau of the Conference of the Parties". Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  26. ^ "The Bangladesh Awami League: Personal physicians request CA to send Sheikh Hasina to USA". Archived from the original on 14 June 2008. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
  27. ^ "The Daily Star, Bangladesh: Govt asked to return Hasina's passport". Retrieved 14 March 2008.
  28. ^ "The Daily Star, Bangladesh: Hasina's doctor writes letter to CA". Retrieved 28 March 2008.
  29. ^ "BBC News: Bangladesh former PM flies to US". 12 June 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2008.
  30. ^ "Hasina wants to return end of Sept: doctor". 17 August 2008. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  31. ^ "Bangladesh Government: Prime Minister's Office – Key Personal". Retrieved 18 January 2009.
  32. ^ "United National General Assembly Second Committee Special Event – People's Empowerment: A Peace Model" (PDF). Retrieved 7 November 2011.

External links[edit]