October 2022

Dissemination of the 2nd National Micronutrient Survey, Bangladesh 2019-2020

Children and women substantially suffer from multiple micronutrient deficiencies - Vitamin D deficiency among women of reproductive age is alarmingly high. The National Nutrition Services (NNS) of the Institute of Public Health Nutrition (IPHN), Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), in partnership with icddr,b organised the dissemination of the 2nd National Micronutrient Survey, Bangladesh 2019-2020 on October 30, 2022. The survey was carried out to understand the status of vitamin A, Vitamin D, Zinc, Ferritin, Urinary Iodine and Anaemia among children (5 to 59 months) and non-pregnant and non-lactating (NPNL) women of reproductive age (15-49 years). Additionally, Vitamin B12 and Folate in NPNL women were also assessed. This nationwide survey was conducted in 250 Upazilas which were randomly selected from every district of eight divisions identified by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

Study highlights

The findings suggest that children under five years of age, and non-pregnant and non-lactating women in the country still significantly lack micronutrients.

Among the under-5 children, deficiency in minerals accounts for 31% had zinc deficiency, 20% had iodine deficiency, and 15% had iron deficiency. While in the case of vitamins, 22% had vitamin D deficiency, and 7% of children had moderate vitamin A deficiency. Compared to the findings from the 1st National Micronutrients Survey 2011-12, the prevalence of micronutrient deficiency status improved for three indicators (vitamin A, Zinc, and vitamin D) while the iron level declined. The prevalence of iodine deficiency (20%) in children has been reported for the first time in this survey.

Among the non-pregnant and non-lactating women, 43% had zinc deficiency, 30% had iodine deficiency, 29% had folate deficiency, and 14% had iron deficiency. An alarming 70% of NPNL women lacked vitamin D, 20% had vitamin B12 deficiency, and only 7% of women had mild vitamin A deficiency. Compared to the findings from the 1st National Micronutrient Survey 2011-12, the micronutrient deficiency status among NPNL women showed improvement in three indicators (vitamin A, zinc, iodine), worsened in thee indicators (serum iron, Folate), and remained unchanged in vitamin D and vitamin B12.

Additionally, 21% of children and 29% of non-pregnant and non-lactating women had mild to severe anaemia in the current survey.

Dr Mustafizur Rahman, Director, DGHS and Line Director, NNS delivered the welcome speech and expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the survey team of icddr,b for the successful completion of the survey amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. He also said that this national estimate of micronutrient deficiency would direct the implementation plan of micronutrient supplementation programs of NNS for children and non-pregnant and non-lactating women.

Dr Aliya Naheed, PI of the study said, "The National Nutrition Services has done a commendable job by supporting icddr,b to conduct high-quality nutrition research in Bangladesh despite the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have identified which vitamins and minerals children and women lack in, and our study findings give a newer direction for the policymakers to design the next-generation nutrition programmes in the 5th health sector programme in Bangladesh. However, monitoring the performance of the nutrition programme would be critical for making policy decisions and the research infrastructure developed by icddr,b has created a wonderful opportunity for the NNS to generate essential evidence for designing cost-effective programmes for improving the health and well-being of people in Bangladesh."

Dr Tahmeed Ahmed, Executive Director at icddr,b appreciated the government's decision and commitment to carrying out the survey and said, "I am confident that the results of the survey will help prepare a strategy for combating food and nutrition insecurity and to identifying appropriate interventions."

Mr Syed Mojibul Huq, Additional Secretary (Public Health Wing), Health Services Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, graced the session as the Chief Guest. He appreciated the National Nutrition Services and icddr,b for bringing out some important findings. He expressed his interest in seeing the evidence turned into actions and addressing the deficiencies in vitamins and minerals in children in women.

Among others, Mr Jashim Uddin Khan, Deputy Secretary (Public Health), Health Service Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW); Dr Hasan Shahriar Kabir, Director General, Bangladesh National Nutrition Council; Prof. Tahmina Begum, President, Bangladesh Neonatal Forum; Prof. Dr Khaleda Islam, Director, Institute of Nutrition& Food Science (INFS), Dhaka University; Dr Malay Kanti Mridha, Professor, BRAC university, Prof. Dr S K Roy, Bangladesh Breast Feeding Foundation; Shaiqa Siraj, Country Director, Nutrition International, Dr Ferdousi Begum, ICMH, Matuail; Rudaba Khondker, GAIN international; Ms Faria Shabnam, National Officer, WHO Bangladesh; Ireen Akhter, Unicef Bangladesh also spoke at the seminar. The dissemination session was hosted by The Global Health Network Asia and attended by representatives from DGHS, IPHN, development partners, UNICEF, WHO, icddr,b and media.

August 2022

Meeting with faculties of the University of Asia Pacific

The Global Health Network, Asia team conducted a brainstorming meeting with faculties of the University of Asia Pacific (UAP). The meeting was chaired by Professor. Dr. Qumrul Ahsan, Vice Chancellor, UAP. Faculties from different departments including the Director of the Institute for Energy, Environment, Research and Development (IEERD), Department of Pharmacy, and Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) attended the meeting. The faculties highlighted their existing research work, shared experiences of proposal writing, and showed their further interest in the capacity strengthening of students and faculties to conduct quality research for public health benefit. Dr. Aliya Naheed, Regional Lead, The Global Health Network, Asia shared briefly about the training resources and opportunities offered by the TGHN platform, and further scopes of collaboration, networking, and need-based skill-building actions.

Next planning

  • Conduct a short survey among the faculties to learn the major obstacles in research and assess their capacity need and requirement
  • Arrange a meeting between the data-science hub of TGHN Asia and the Department of CSE, UAP to explore existing activities of data science at UAP

Learn more about the University of Asia Pacific

June 2022

Workshop on Grant Writing

Dr. Aliya Naheed conducted an interactive workshop on “Grant writing” in collaboration with the Director NSU Global Health Institute (NGHI) on 25 June, 2022. More than 30 young researchers from different backgrounds (such as public health, doctors, nurses, etc.) attended the workshop. The workshop included an overview of a grant proposal, common elements of a grant proposal, strategies to write a standard grant proposal, and sharing the practical experiences of writing successful grant proposals. The participants showed their interest to join further training, especially long-term group workshops to write a grant proposal. To get more details on sessions, please email incd1.icddrb@gmail.com.

Participants of the workshop

Participants of the workshop

Workshop on How to write a Policy Brief, hosted by ARCH, The Global Health Network

The ARCH hub, under The Global Health Network organized a series of workshops on “Communicating Science to Facilitate the Uptake of Research Findings into Policy and Practice, between 21 June 2022-7 July 2022. Under this programme, TGHN ASIA supported the ARCH hub in organizing one session on “How to write a policy brief”. The session was facilitated by Dr. Sohana Shafique, Assistant Scientist, and Deputy Project Coordinator of icddr,b who has vast experience in conducting policy analysis in Bangladesh. Participants from different fields including researchers, students, and stakeholders from different countries attended the session. It was an interactive workshop where Dr Shafique discussed with the audience regarding their queries and different aspects of the topic. For more details on upcoming sessions, please check the ARCH hub.

Writing a Policy Brief

Writing a Policy Brief

May 2022

Prof Trudie Lang and Liam Boggs visit to Bangladesh: Setting up a preparatory plan for The Global Health Network Asia

Professor Trudie Lang, Director of the Global Health Network, and Liam Boggs, Senior Operations Manager from the University of Oxford visited Bangladesh from 21st to 24th May 2022 to discuss the future action plan of TGHN Asia.

During the visit, Trudie, Liam, and the TGHN Asia team met The Executive Director of icddr,b, and a few members of the Central Management team including Thomas Liam Berry, Director of Finance, Armana Ahmed, Head, Research Administration, and, Md. Al Mamun, Manager, Library and Information Services along with Dr. Aliya Naheed, Scientist, icddr,b, and the Regional Lead, The Global Health Network, Asia, and her team. Prof. Trudie shared the overall plan of the project and share the action plan for TGHN Asia to get feedback. Recommendations on how the activities of TGHN Asia can be aligned with the existing policy of icddr,b were made during the brainstorming sessions with the dignitaries.

Professor Trudie also visited the Dhaka hospital, the only hospital in the entire world dedicated to diarrheal treatment along with the TGHN team. One of the medical officers of icddr,b shared the overall management system of the hospital, different departments, and ongoing research work. Professor Trudie discussed further capacity-strengthening opportunities, particularly for the nurses who are working enormously with the doctors and can contribute effectively to the research.

Exploring policymakers’ views on the capacity-strengthening initiatives

To initiate the activities of the TGHN Asia under the Bill and Melinda Gates Funded Project "A New Ecosystem for Health Research and Data Science", Professor Trudie Lang, Director of TGHN, and Dr. Aliya Naheed, Regional Lead of TGHN Asia in Bangladesh, along with their teams met different policymakers of Bangladesh. The team visited Professor Modasser Ali, Chairman of the Bangladesh Medical Research Council and Professor Robed Amin, Line Director of NCDCP, and a few Program Managers. In both meetings they discussed the willingness of the Bangladesh government in enhancing research capacity and developing a system for real-time data capture. They also discussed on the scope of collaboration to expand the network’s activity.

Brainstorming sessions on future pathfinder projects in TGHN Asia

Professor Trudie and Liam, along with the TGHN Asia team, visited Matlab HDSS run by icddr,b, the longest-running health demographic surveillance system in an LMIC setting. During the visit, the team explored the data capture system of the HDSS, and opportunities to add health data linking with the existing system with a clear purpose. Professor Trudie also suggested the Matlab team look for funding opportunities to generate tools, templates, and training manuals needed to set up an HDSS in low-resource settings. She also requested the Matlab HDSS team to identify the specific challenges in capturing these data and then generating usable outputs from this health surveillance data that can be taken up so that others so can set up the same in their settings. 

Meeting with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital

Prof Trudie, Liam, Dr. Aliya along with her team visited BSMMU for a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor (BSMMU) and other dignitaries. This meeting was Inaugurated by Professor Sharfuddin Ahmed, Vice-Chancellor of BSMMU, and Chaired by Professor Md Zahid Hussain, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research and Development, BSMMU. The meeting was also attended by senior professors of various departments of BSMMU. Dr. Aliya and Prof Trudie briefed the overall activities of TGHN-Asia and capacity building opportunities specially for the health care provider at BSMMU.

Meeting with the Scientists of the Noncommunicable Diseases consortium of iccdr,b

Another meeting was organized with the Scientists of the NCD consortium from various departments of icddr,b. In the meeting, all the attendees shared their views, how they can utilize the TGHN platform to increase their visibility with the global scientific community.