Aimed at helping Bangladesh tackle Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), several United Kingdom-based agencies yesterday signed an agreement with some local health organisations.
The UK-based agencies, under the Cambridge Programme to Assist Bangladesh in Lifestyle and Environmental Risk Reduction (CAPABLE), are University of Cambridge, University College London and University Court of University of Aberdeen.
The local institutes are Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (icddr,b) and National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute (NHFH&RI).
The agreement, a five-year initiative, was signed at a hotel in the capital, with National Prof Brig (retd) Abdul Malik in the chair.
BSMMU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Kamrul Hasan Khan, Dr John D Clemens and IEDCR Director Prof Meerjadi Sabrina Flora were also present.
“The project would develop and evaluate practicable and effective interventions that expose major environmental and lifestyle risk factors against NCDs and promote health in the country in an acceptable, sustainable and cost-effective manner,” said Dr ASM Alamgir, senior scientific officer of IEDCR.
According to Scientific Director of the CAPABLE programme Dr Rajiv Chowdhury from the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at University of Cambridge, the project aims to help develop simple, scalable and effective solutions to control major environmental and lifestyle risk factors in Bangladesh.
CAPABLE would recruit 1,00,000 people from rural areas to the city slums for collecting data. From those, engineers, sociologists, health researchers and a host of other disciplines would try to understand the risk factors and build a model that can be used to test interventions before they are implemented.
In addition, CAPABLE would arrange training of 16 Bangladeshi health experts in Cambridge University.
According to World Health Organization, Non-Communicable Diseases, also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviours factors.
The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.
NCDs disproportionately affect people in low- and middle-income countries where more than three quarters of global NCD deaths -- 31 million -- occur.