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Dr. Iftikher Mahmood, originally from Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, a region of the country where 9 in 10 women deliver their babies at home without access to a trained medical professional, has dedicated his life to changing that.

Dr. Mahmood completed his medical degree at Chittagong Medical College, University of Chittagong, in 1987. After briefly working at a local hospital for mothers and children in Bangladesh, he moved to the United States to pursue further education. Dr. Mahmood completed his Pediatric Residency at Brooklyn Hospital in New York and specialized in Pediatric Endocrinology at New York Hospital – Cornell University. In 1996, he moved to Florida and established a thriving pediatric practice in Miami.

During his early medical training, Dr. Mahmood was deeply moved by the severe and preventable suffering of impoverished women and children in rural Bangladesh. This inspired him to create a network of charitable hospitals and clinics dedicated to their care.

In May 1999, he founded the HOPE Foundation for Women & Children of Bangladesh as a nonprofit organization in Florida. The foundation’s mission is to deliver healthcare services to the most economically disadvantaged mothers and children in Bangladesh.

In December 1999, the HOPE Foundation launched its first outpatient clinic in a modest rented room with a single doctor dedicated to treating the local impoverished population. Since then, HOPE has expanded significantly, establishing multiple hospitals, rural outpatient clinics, training centers, and midwife-led birth centers. In 2013, the foundation began training local women as midwives to better serve their communities.

HOPE Foundation remains committed to tackling maternal health issues and reducing preventable deaths among mothers and newborns. In response to the large influx of Rohingya refugees into Cox’s Bazar in 2017, the foundation rapidly mobilized extensive resources to provide healthcare to the displaced people. Under Dr. Mahmood’s leadership, HOPE opened several women’s health centers and a field hospital focusing solely on maternal care within the refugee camps, the only such facility dedicated to this crucial need.

Dr. Mahmood has been widely recognized for his contributions and has been invited to speak at prestigious events, including those at Harvard University and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. He also holds a faculty position at Tufts Medical School in Boston, USA. Dr. Mahmood is determined to further develop programs aimed at reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in Bangladesh, contributing to the country’s efforts to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals.