icddr,b and collaborators win US$ 2.5 million for new research on nutrition, childhood development and WASH

icddr,b with collaborators wins US$ 2,500,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a new research project on integration of nutrition, early childhood development, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

The project titled “Research on Integration of Nutrition Early Childhood Development WASH (RINEW)” aims to optimise growth and development of children living in impoverished communities by empowering community health promoters to deliver an integrated cost-effective package of interventions.

icddr,b is collaborating with researchers from Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, University of California Berkley and University of California Davis, USA for this four-year project that will also work together with stakeholders in Bangladesh including the Government and large non-governmental organisations.

icddr,b RINEW research team. Photo: Rabiul Hasan / icddr,b


“The project assumes that integrating multiple interventions is feasible and will produce high uptake even in impoverished communities with low levels of education,” says Dr Md. Mahbubur Rahman, principal investigator of the project and also a project coordinator with icddr,b’s environmental intervention unit (EIU) at the Infectious Disease Division (IDD).

“It is expected that this project will produce a practical package that demonstrates a low-cost approach for delivery of integrated interventions that can make a profound contribution to healthy child growth and development in South Asia and globally,” adds Dr Mahbub.



In the next four years, the project aims to develop, pilot and revise an intervention package integrating maternal nutrition, early childhood stimulation, WASH, infant and young child nutrition, and lead exposure prevention delivered by local community promoters.

It will also randomly assign villages to three different groups (control, child stimulation only, full integrated intervention) and deliver the interventions to the assigned villages. Then the project will measure uptake, intermediate outcomes, child growth, child developmental measures, and collect biological samples in the intervention and control villages and also explore pathways for scaling up integrated interventions in Bangladesh.

“This research project will not focus on the individual technical interventions,” says Dr Mahbub. Rather, the novelty is the approach in delivering complex multifaceted interventions with high uptakes – an approach that deploys skill-based training, supportive supervision and selection of age-appropriate activities through a computer tablet database to assist community promoters in delivering customised sessions.

The icddr,b team comprises Dr Md. Mahbubur Rahman, principal investigator with co-investigators Mr Tarique Md. Nurul Huda, Ms Farzana Yeasmin, Ms Farzana Begum, Dr Fahmida Tofail and Mr Malay Kanti Mridha with research team.

RINEW collaborators are Prof Stephen P Luby, Stanford University; Prof Peter Winch, Johns Hopkins University; Prof Lia Fenland, University of California Berkley and Assoc. Prof Christine Stewart, University of California Davis.