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Non-communicable diseases

We assess the burden of chronic diseases in Bangladesh, document current care practices and health-seeking behaviours and evaluate new interventions relevant to low-income countries, with a focus on cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Programme lead

Dr Aliya Naheed

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icddr,b initiated a developmental research programme in 2015 dedicated to developing research for identifying solutions to the prevention and control of NCD in Bangladesh. Since its inception, the Initiative for Non Communicable Diseases has been conducting research on all major NCDs in a wide range of multiple disciplines in order to document credible evidence of burden, care practices, systems readiness, social challenges, financial barriers, and other aspects of social determinants of health that prevent access to universal health coverage for NCD care in Bangladesh. The vision of the program is to evaluate new interventions relevant to LMICs, with a focus on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and mental health disorders that would drive effective pragmatic solutions for all people of all ages.

The Initiative has played a pivotal role in identifying several ground-breaking solutions for the prevention and control of NCDs across different stages of life cycle both in Bangladesh and beyond. Our innovative multi component intervention for the control of hypertension in rural communities has been proven to be cost-effective and acceptable to all level stakeholders including both the patients and the providers. The evidence of this trial supported the NCD Control Program, DGHS to develop a national guideline for the treatment of hypertension and diabetes using generic drugs and provide directions for ensuring adequate supplies of essential NCD drugs in all primary facilities in Bangladesh.

We have conducted several nationwide surveys and built multiple research cohorts across a wide range of socio-demographic and NCD profiles in Bangladesh. A few examples are hypertensive cohort, diabetic cohort, cohort of GDM, Children born of mothers with NCD, women of reproductive age, under 5 children, individuals living with hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, COPD, and older people. Through our research activities we have built strong collaborations with reputed research institutions in Bangladesh and the global South.

We have played a pioneering role in research capacity strengthening of the clinicians, public health researchers and faculty through our innovative platform “Clinical Research Platform, Bangladesh”, a tripartite initiative of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), British Medical Journal (BMJ), and icddr,b.  We have established The Global Health Network Asia and Global Innovation Hub for Multimorbidity Solutions for promoting research collaborations on multimorbidity across institutions in Asia and disseminate newer findings on emerging issues including NCD multimorbidity in COVID-19 pandemic.

Our future work will have a particular focus on developing pragmatic low-cost solutions for NCD risk reduction and implementing already identified best practices in order to prevent premature deaths. We will generate new evidence and knowledge from the existing data sets through pathfinder projects in NCD along with impact of other cross-cutting issues in NCD such as infectious diseases, nutrition, environmental change, genomics etc. We will apply the research driven evidence for strengthening services at the primary care facilities for early detection of major NCDs (Hypertension, Cardiovascular Diseases, Mental Health, Diabetes, and Cancer) through life course approach and control disease severity of NCDs in order to prevent premature deaths due to NCDs.