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Non-Communicable Disease Control Programme launches ‘Climate and Health Innovation Hub’ in Bangladesh

Today, the Non-Communicable Disease Control (NCDC) Programme of the Directorate General of Health Service (DGHS), alongside icddr,b acting as the secretariat, has officially launched the Climate and Health Innovation Hub (CHIB) in Bangladesh. This significant initiative is dedicated to pioneering the documentation, development, and acceleration of locally-led climate change adaptation efforts, with a keen focus on health and related priorities such as heat stress, climate resilient infrastructure, climate sensitive diseases, and tackling water salinity issues. The event was held at The Lakeshore Heights, Gulshan Avenue, Dhaka.

The occasion also marked by a workshop titled "Launching the Climate and Health Innovation Hub in Bangladesh: Putting Health of People in the Center of Climate Change". The event witnessed the participation of key stakeholders from various government institutions, agencies, development partners, and NGOs. Discussions focused on facilitating meaningful engagement among stakeholders for the formation and future direction of CHIB.

The workshop commenced with welcome remarks and an introduction by Dr Nusaer Chowdhury, Deputy Program Manager, NCDC, DGHS. Dr Farjana Jahan, Assistant Scientist at icddr,b, discussed the " Climate Change and Health Innovation Hub: Fostering Innovation to Combat Climate Change in Bangladesh." Dr Ashim Chakraborty, Program Manager at NCDC, presented on "The Landscape and Future Projections of Non-Communicable Diseases in Bangladesh" focusing on the health implications amidst changing climate conditions. Sajib Hasan from Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) Bangladesh explored "Exploring Climate Change in Bangladesh: Trends and Future Projects," highlighting the urgent climate change challenges facing the nation.

Professor Dr Muhammad Robed Amin, Line Director of NCDC, DGHS, announced the launch. In his remarks, he congratulated the initiative, stating, “We were urgently in need of such a hub to ensure all stakeholders are on the same page. Now, we can not only share knowledge but also conduct further research and capacity building. It's imperative that we involve the community and establish a system to alert them before climate challenges impact them.”

A key feature of the event was the lively brainstorming sessions aimed at synthesising recommendations and formulating current priorities and opportunities for addressing climate change and health issues. These sessions were facilitated by experts from NCDC, icddr,b, and RIMES, leading to group presentations. Dr Md. Mahbubur Rahman, Project Coordinator and Lead, Environmental Health and WASH, icddr,b reflected on the discussions and recommendations from stakeholders and highlighted the path towards multisectoral engagement.

Among others, Dr Mizanur Rahman, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, KJM Abdul Awal, Director, Horticultural Wing, Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Md Azizur Rahman, Director, Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) attended the event as special guests and expressed their interest to be actively engaged and support hub activities.Dr Rahman said, “The Ministry will provide all kind of support to the hub including advisory support if needed.”

Dr Sarah Salway, Senior Director, Health System and Population Studies Division at icddr,b, said, "Today's launch and workshop represent a pivotal step towards uniting diverse expertise and resources to combat the urgent health challenges posed by climate change in Bangladesh. The insights and collaborations forged today are crucial for our ongoing efforts to build health resilience and adapt to climate challenges."

The Climate and Health Innovation Hub aims to address the challenge of sectoral coordination, which has historically limited the efficient sharing and utilisation of information and resources. This limitation has restricted community access to essential climate-related health information and adaptive strategies. With Bangladesh ranked as the seventh riskiest nation in the Global Climate Risk Index 2020, the urgency for such initiatives is clear.

The successful completion of today's event marks a significant milestone in Bangladesh's journey towards a resilient and health-conscious future in the face of climate challenges. Stakeholders and media representatives who joined the event have witnessed a pivotal moment in the nation's collective efforts to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on health.

The Climate and Health Innovation Hub is also supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and Foundation S – The Sanofi Collective. National public health experts and representatives from our development partner Non-communicable Disease Control (NCDC),Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MODMR), Bangladesh Climate Change Trust (BCCT)and Department of Environment (DOE), NIPSOM, Jahangirnagar University, Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) attended this event. Officials from United Purpose, Action Against Hunger (ACF), Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Friendship, Prova Aurora, Shakti foundation, BRAC, Centre for Injury Prevention and Research Bangladesh (CIPRB), ARK Foundation, World Vision Bangladesh, Concern Worldwide, the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES). Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Stanford University and University California of Berkley and icddr,b officials were present, fostering a collaborative environment for the workshop.