Partner Spotlight: Research Activities of Bangladesh GEOHealth Center at icddr,b
More than half of the world’s population, including around 85% of Bangladesh’s population, is exposed to Household Air Pollution (HAP) and pollutants that result from the combustion of biomass fuels, such as wood, leaves, and charcoal. While health risks related to outdoor air pollution have been reasonably well-studied, particularly in developed countries, more studies on the health risks of household air pollution in the developing world are needed.
Alliance partner the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) – an international research institute based in Bangladesh— is currently researching the role of improved cookstoves in reducing household air pollutants and improving health outcomes. We have partnered with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to explore improved cooking solutions as approaches to reduce exposure to HAP and improve cardiopulmonary and immune function related health outcomes.
In 2012, icddr,b and the University of Chicago were jointly awarded a paired planning grant by the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center to develop a network of researchers who will address emerging environmental and occupational health problems in the South Asian region. We developed a Bangladesh Center for Global Environmental and Occupational Health (GEOHealth) at icddr,b. We expanded our partnership with the University of Chicago Research Bangladesh, the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), as well as the Atomic Energy Center in Dhaka, among many other national and international universities and health research institutes. In 2015, we commenced work under a research and training grant. For the research component we prioritized the study of HAP, including assessing Particulate Matter (PM2.5), carbon monoxide (CO),and Black Carbon (BC) exposures due to solid fuel use, as a key public health issue in Bangladesh. We designed a large scale population-based longitudinal research study to investigate the health effects of these exposures in target populations in Bangladesh. The longitudinal study will include pre- and post- intervention assessments of health outcomes with an improved cookstove intervention.
Our research sites are located in the Matlab and Araihazar sub-districts in Chandpur and Narayanganj districts respectively. We are evaluating the effects of HAP on a number of established preclinical markers of cardiovascular and lung diseases and immune dysfunction. Cardiovascular markers include carotid intima-media thickness, endothelial function measures, brachial artery dispensability, and EKG ascertained parameters. Lung function measures include Forced Expiratory Volume in 1-second and Forced Vital Capacity. Markers of immune function include proliferation of t-lymphocytes and macrophage and dendritic cells derived cytokines/chemokines. We are measuring personal exposures to PM2.5, CO, and BC by collecting personal air samples over 24 hours (72 hours for a subset).
In conjunction with the training activities, the GEOHealth center in Bangladesh has the potential for a significant public health impact on 1.5 billion South Asians (and beyond). Research and training activities of this project is supported by the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes for Health under award numbers U01 TW010120 and U2R TW10122.
For any queries on this project please contact Dr. Md, Yunus (email@example.com). To know more about how icddr,b is striving to solve key global health challenges through innovative scientific research, please visit www.icddrb.org.