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Healing hands mourned

DHAKA (AsiaNews): A New Zealand-born doctor, Edric Baker, who devoted the best part of his life to serving the poor of Bangladesh, died on September 1 in Dhaka at the age of 74.

His funeral was held on the following day at the Kaliakuri Health Care Project in the Tangail District of Dhaka. Thousands of people from the Christian, Islamic and Hindu faiths attended the solemn service in honour of the doctor.

Bishop Ponen Paul Kubi, from Mymensingh, said that he remembers him as “a simple man, who played a major role in our country and diocese. We shall remember him for many years. For all of us, he was an example of how we can sincerely take to heart caring for people.”

Baker was a Catholic and arrived in Bangladesh in 1979 to set up free health care for the poor, regardless of creed or race. People called him Doctor Bhai (Brother Doctor).

He worked in the area for 35 years and was granted Bangladeshi citizenship in August 2014 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the nation.

Local and international media often reported on his work. He was popular and highly respected among Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, as well as Christians.

People were struck by his kindness and saw his goodness springing from his faith. In his life, he spread the gospel through his service.

“Dr. Edric Baker’s death is a great loss,” Rajia Sultana Shully, a Muslim woman, said. “Doctors from Bangladesh should learn from him on how to treat patients in a conscientious way.”

Hanif Sanket, a presenter from Bangladesh Television, said, “He gave meaning to life in serving the poor. May his soul rest in peace.”

Sanket produced a documentary in 2011 on Baker’s work, which led to him being granted citizenship.


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