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Chowdhury, Dr Fahmida

Associate Scientist and Project Coordinator
Emerging Infections
Infectious Diseases Division
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Fahmida

Antibiotics save lives, but their irrational use is detrimental leading to antimicrobial resistance (AMR). My work focuses on combating AMR along with respiratory pathogens such as influenza, RSV, and pneumococcus.

My journey in public health happened by chance. During my medical college days, gynecology was a subject that I enjoyed very much. However, after my son was born, I decided to become a pediatrician, so that I would know how to best take care of my son’s health and sick children. After completing my post-graduation training in pediatrics, I joined icddr,b as a Clinical Fellow in 2004, and worked in the Dhaka hospital of icddr,b treating patients. I got my first motivation in public health research in this hospital when I saw my seniors engaging in clinical research. Soon after the completion of my fellowship I got an opportunity to work in a research project on pneumococcal disease as a Medical Officer under the Infectious Diseases Division (IDD), which facilitated my participation in both clinical medicine and public health research. After completing my Master’s degree in public health from Uppsala University, Sweden, I came back to icddr,b and decided to focus exclusively on research. As a medical epidemiologist, I have been involved in research on infectious diseases in Bangladesh. The first research project I led was on antibiotic dispensing by the drug sellers in pharmacies for patients with acute respiratory illness. I tried to explore if there was any irrational use of antibiotics. From there onwards, I did not look back and thankfully was able to be a part of 21 research projects with me leading 18 of those as Principal Investigator. I have conducted multiple epidemiological studies which includes hospital and community-based surveillance, clinical trial, cohort, case-control, cross-sectional and health economics studies. Currently, I am leading the Respiratory Viruses Research Group and the Infection Control and AMR Research Group of Programme for Emerging Infections (PEI) under IDD. Along with leading multiple research projects on influenza and other respiratory pathogens including fungus to identify the disease burden, and exploring transmission dynamics and risk factors with prevention strategies, I am also leading projects on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which is an emerging global threat.

Why I work at icddr,b:

At icddr,b there is a scope to be involved in many different types of research, as it is a premiere research institution. I have been working at icddr,b since 2004 and I have always felt that the mentoring here is priceless. The work environment and opportunities I have received have also allowed my career at icddr,b to progress. I very much enjoy my work.

Future Plans:

I want to continue working on influenza to share data in global platforms and generate evidence for advocacy to the government and policy makers so that they will consider implementing influenza vaccination among the high risk groups in Bangladesh. I would also continue my work on AMR with the ultimate goal of mitigating AMR with rational use of antibiotics by physicians and drug sellers in Bangladesh. 

2019 - till date

Associate Scientist and Project Coordinator, PEI, IDD, icddr,b

2017 - 2018

Deputy Project Coordinator, PEI, IDD, icddr,b

2013 - 2017

Assistant Scientist, PEI, IDD, icddr,b

2011 - 2012

Research Investigator, Respiratory Viruses Research Group, CCD, icddr,b

2011

Research Investigator, Child development, CNFS

2009 - 2011

Senior Clinical Fellow, Dhaka Hospital, icddr,b

2007 - 2009

Masters in International Health, Uppsala University, Sweden

2006 - 2007

Medical Officer, Health System and Infectious Diseases, icddr,b

2004 - 2006

Clinical Fellow, Dhaka Hospital, icddr,b

2002 - 2004

Medical Officer, Pediatrics (Ad-did Hospital)

1999

Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) Bangladesh Medical College, University of Dhaka

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