£8m Cambridge initiative launched to help Bangladesh fight lifestyle diseases

The UK’s University of Cambridge has launched a programme in Bangladesh to assist the fight against non-communicable diseases or NCDs such as heart diseases, diabetes and cancer, also known as the lifestyle diseases.

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 23 Jan 2018, 07:24 PM
Updated : 23 Jan 2018, 07:49 PM

The government’s disease monitoring arm, IEDCR, will implement the Cambridge Programme to Assist Bangladesh in Lifestyle and Environmental or CAPABLE risk reduction programme supported by a £8 million grant from the Research Councils-UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund program.

Bangladesh is currently facing the “double burden” of both infectious and lifestyle diseases.

According to a WHO report, NCDs account for 59 percent of total deaths in Bangladesh. Of these, cardiovascular diseases cause the highest 17 percent deaths followed by chronic lung diseases at 11 percent and cancer 10 percent.

The NCD Alliance in last October warned that those diseases are affecting the people of the Asian region including Bangladesh younger than the rest of the world.

The British medical journal the Lancet last year, ahead of World Obesity Day in October, indicated the rise in obesity rates in low and middle-income countries including Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, it said, obesity among boys aged five to 19 years was found at 3 percent in 2016 which was only 0.03 percent in 1975. Among girls, the rate jumped to 2.3 percent from almost nil four decades ago at the same age group.

The CAPABLE programme is aimed at addressing the challenges of non-communicable diseases by focusing on “intertwined risk factors related to social, environmental, and behavioural factors not previously been considered in an integrated framework”.

“The programme will create new research platforms and use a multidisciplinary approach in Bangladesh to address two key Sustainable Development Goals -- ‘clean air, water and sanitation’ and ‘Sustainable health and wellbeing’.

“The vision of CAPABLE is to develop and evaluate practicable, scalable and effective interventions that can help control exposure to major environmental and lifestyle risk factors, protect against NCDs, and promote health in Bangladesh (and beyond) in an acceptable, sustainable and cost-effective manner,” IEDCR said.

To realise this aim, CAPABLE will pursue four inter-linked goals:

>> To create a 100,000-participant NCD research platform, in urban, urban-slum, and rural settings, which leaves a lasting legacy in Bangladesh.

>> To conduct innovative cross-disciplinary research to understand the interplay NCD risk factors, and to develop and evaluate practicable, feasible and acceptable interventions to combat them.

>> To strengthen research capacity in Bangladesh.

>> To mobilise partnerships of Bangladesh and UK centres-of-excellence to achieve the goals above.

The UK’s University of Cambridge, University College London, and University of Aberdeen collaborating with Bangladesh’s Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (icddr,b), National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute (NHFH&RI) for this capacity building project.