Our multidisciplinary team has extensive experience in conducting trials, process evaluation and economic evaluation. ARK has a long track record of providing evidence-based inputs to steer the direction of policy and practice. We have experience of working together with partners and collaborators through establishing norms of joint ownership, responsibilities and decision-making.
We have completed five randomised controlled trials (RCT) with embedded process and economic evaluation, in partnership with the University of York, UK. These trials were conducted in community (schools, mosques) and facility (health centres) levels. In CLASS I and II trials, we recruited 12 and 24 schools with around 500 and 800 students respectively and tested effectiveness of interventions to reduce exposure of children to second-hand tobacco smoke. In TB Tobacco Trial, we recruited 1527 TB patients from 17 health centres from four districts and evaluated the feasibility of integrating tobacco cessation within TB control programme. In MCLASS trial, we recruited 45 mosques and 1801 households with 6811 respondents and tested effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a behaviour change intervention to make homes smoke-free. Currently, we are carrying out CLASS III (full-size) cluster RCT (cRCT) in 34 schools with 1360 students to reduce exposure of second-hand tobacco smoke to children, and another RCT in two health centres (ASTRA) to evaluate effectiveness of intervention on tobacco cessation. We are also carrying out a cRCT and recruited 704 Mother-Child Pairs in 22 clusters distributed at eight refugee camps in Kutupalong, Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar to test a contextualised care package designed to improve Early Childhood Outcome (ECD) among children and mental health status (i.e. depression) among mothers.
We have experience in conducting cross-sectional surveys. Recently, we have completed five cross-sectional studies in diverse settings to assess: i) prevalence of eye problems among 636 Rohingya infants; ii) prevalence and distribution of mental and physical comorbidity among 1500 patients with severe mental illness, in partnership with National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Bangladesh and the University of York, UK; iii) compliance to tobacco control laws among 1339 Point of Sale (POS) vendors selling loose cigarettes in eight districts in Bangladesh; iv) knowledge, attitude and practice relating to antibiotic use among 1200 respondents in 14 sub-districts in Comilla district; v) prevalence of non-communicable diseases among 1000 households in 7 districts, in partnership with Health Economics Unit (HEU), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) of Bangladesh.
We have completed several programme evaluation including (i) the UNICEF-Government Health Programme 2016-2018 (2019), (ii) Sight Saver’s ‘Quality Child Eye Health’ project (2014). We work in both urban and rural areas. We have extensive experience of working with marginalised people, and people living with disability and mental illness.
We have a strong data management team. We have extensive experience of using different software, including in RedCap, Qualtrix, STATA, SPSS, and NVivo.
We are trusted partner of several research consortiums, led by the University of Leeds, UK and University of York, UK. Currently, we are a partner of DFID funded Urban Health Research Consortium, led by the University of Leeds (2020-2026), which is a multi-country, multiyear research project. We had been a partner of DFID funded Communicable Disease-Health Service Delivery (COMDIS-HSD) Research Consortium, also led by University of Leeds, UK. Besides, we are currently working with University of Edinburgh, University of Illinois at Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, University of Sheffield, University of Liverpool, University of Cape – Town, South Africa and University of Brunel.
We are also collaborating with national and international NGOs and Universities, including MannionDaniels, UK; Malaria Consortium, UK; HRIDAY, India; Maulana Azad Medical College & Associated Hospitals, India; National Institute of Mental Health And Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), India; HERD, Nepal; Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB), International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research Bangladesh (icddr,b); James P Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH) BRAC University; and Bureau of Economic Research, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Researchers at ARK have excellent skills in engaging with government and different stakeholders to ensure that the research is translated into policy and practice. Over the years, we have facilitated the development of Multi-Sectoral Action Plan, 4th Health Sector Programme in Bangladesh, Five years Roadmap of Tobacco Control in Bangladesh, and Guideline for Patient Grievance Mechanism. We supported the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh in developing, piloting and integrating the ‘Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI)’ job aide in the refresher training curriculum for the 13,500 Community Health Care Providers (CHCP). ARK also supported the National TB Control Programme (NTP) in developing and circulating the TB factsheet nationwide (2013-2016), and also provided training to TB and Leprosy Control Assistants (TLCA) and Programme Organisers from 4 districts to provide behavioural support to TB patients for smoking cessation (2019).
We have a strong financial management team, headed by professional accountants, who are conversant about DFID rules and regulation. ARK has successfully received and managed research grants from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh (MOHFW), Department for International Development (DFID UK), World Health Organisation (WHO), Medical Research Council (MRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), International Development Research Centre Canada (IDRC), Sight Savers, and also Grand Challenges Canada (GCC).
Besides, ARK Foundation has developed and implemented multiple Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials for different communities, which are available on the website. Researchers at ARK have had their works published in several peer-reviewed international journals, such as Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Addiction, Nicotine and Tobacco Research, npj primary care respiratory medicine, PLoS ONE, BMJ open, International Journal of Tobacco Control and Lung Health, Tropical Disease and Infectious Disease, and BMC health services research. Determined to attain their visions, ARK believes in working towards developing sustainable solutions and implementing those, through knowledge translation and policy recommendation.