A global health research centre to combat NCDs (Non Communicable Diseases) and environmental change has been launched in Bangladesh.
Health and family welfare minister Zahid Maleque formally launched the NIHR Global Health Research Centre for Non-communicable Diseases and Environmental Change at a dissemination seminar at a city hotel on Monday.
Speaking as chief guest, the minister Zahid Maleque highlighted various government initiatives to combat the NCDs, including the eight state-of-the-art hospitals under construction in each division.
“I hope the research and evidences generated by the NIHR Global Health Research Centre will be instrumental in policymaking and strategic decisions to combat NCDs in Bangladesh,” he said.
At the launching event, Dr Tahmeed Ahmed, Executive Director of the icddr,b said the centre would be able to develop low-cost sustainable solutions and advocate for them to prevent and address non-communicable diseases through undertaking implementation research.
Dr Aliya Naheed, scientist at the icddr,b, presented an overview of the Bangladesh centre while Professor Christopher Millett from the Imperial College London, UK gave an overview of the global centre with a tenure of five years.
Dr Md. Anwar Hossain Howlader, Secretary of Health Services Division and Prof. Dr Ahmedul Kabir, Additional Director General (Planning and Development) of the DGHS were also present among others.
According to the icddr,b, the centre is developing a programme of policy-relevant research, research capacity strengthening and community engagement to tackle the dual challenges of a rapidly growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and the threat of global environmental change in Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and improve the delivery of high-quality, equitable services for this dual threat, especially for marginalised populations most impacted by environmental change.
In Bangladesh, storm surges caused by tropical cyclones have led to an increase in water salinity across the coastal belt and this has harmful health effects on local populations, including increased blood pressure, progressive kidney disease and gestational hypertension in pregnant women.
Utilising the existing government Primary Healthcare Systems, the centre will work to identify and test cost-effective, sustainable solutions to reduce salinity, with a focus on hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic kidney diseases in the coastal districts of Koyra upazila of Khulna and Ashashuni upazila of Satkhira districts in Bangladesh.
It will also work towards strengthening of Primary Health Care in Bangladesh and develop multi sectoral interventions through active engagement with communities that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of environmental change and NCDs.