Workshop on “Antimicrobial resistance, One Health and Community Engagement”


The spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an issue of growing global concern. It is often cited as one of the most critical threats to global health, food security and development. Antibiotic drugs are used to treat the bacterial diseases. When these drugs become no longer sensitive to the bacteria then it is called Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) which refers to ineffectiveness of antibiotics. As a result, bacterial diseases become untreatable, even simple bacterial infections become difficult to treat. Ineffectiveness of antibiotic is rapidly increasing in eleven Asian countries including Bangladesh. Taking antibiotic without prescription of registered health care providers; non-completion of prescribed antibiotic course; sharing antibiotic drugs with other people and mixing the drugs in poultry-feed and fish-food – are the main reasons of AMR in Bangladesh. Changing behaviour with regard to how antibiotics are prescribed and used (in humans and animals) is a key strategy to minimising the spread of resistance. Successfully changing people’s behaviour and ensuring appropriate use of antibiotics will require innovative and participatory community mobilisation approaches.

On March 25, 2019, a workshop has held on “Antimicrobial resistance, One Health and Community Engagement” at Six Seasons Hotel, Gulshan-2, Dhaka. The workshop was organized by ARK Foundation, Bangladesh in partnership with University of Leeds and Malaria Consortium, UK. Professor Dr. Md. Abul Hashem Khan, Line Director, Community Based Health Care, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bangladesh chaired the workshop. Professor Sayedur Rahman Khasru, Professor of Pharmacology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Professor Nitish C Debnath, Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Dr. Prudence Hamade, Sr. Technical Advisor of Malaria Consortium, Dr. Rebecca King, Associate Professor of University of Leeds, Ms. Lauren E. Smith, Social and Behaviour Change Specialist of Malaria Consortium, Dr. Rumana Huque, Executive Director of ARK Foundation were present in the workshop among others.

Professor Dr. Md. Abul Hashem Khan stated that ARK Foundation has taken a commendable step by conducting the community based awareness programme on AMR. Mr. Prudence Hamade said that AMR is a serious public health problem affecting people all over the world. Antimicrobials are lifesaving drugs.  In order to delay resistance, antimicrobials need to be taken only when needed to treat serious infections. The drugs need to be of high quality, besides full courses should be taken. Antibiotic misuse in animal is one of the main causes of antibiotic resistance and should be used for the treatment of sick animal, not for prevention or growth promotion.

Dr. Rebecca King said that community engagement approaches that are designed to be appropriate to deliver within existing health care system show great potential as mechanisms through which communities can identify solutions to addressing antimicrobial resistance. Ms. Lauren E. Smith, Social and Behaviour Change Specialist said that community Participation is key to designing effective interventions that can be scalable and sustainable. The community dialogue approach can empower communities to take action and improve their health. Dr. Rumana Huque, Executive Director, ARK Foundation said that a recent study conducted by ARK Foundation, University of Leeds and Malaria Consortium titled “Community Dialogues to prevent and control antibiotic resistance in Bangladesh” suggests that the community dialogue approach can play an important role to increase awareness among people on appropriate use of antibiotics. She added that tackling AMR will require a coordinated, collaborative and multidisciplinary approach, which will need to bring together stakeholders from a range of sectors, including human health, animal health, environment, agriculture and WASH (One Health).

Inception of ASTRA

We are happy to announce that we became a part of ASTRA – a brand new programme to address Smokeless Tobacco use and build research capacity in South Asia. This is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, the largest national clinical research funder in Europe and partnered with University of York, Brunel University, University of Edinburgh, University of Stirling, King’s College, Khyber Medical University, University of Warwick and National Institute of Cancer Prevention And Research, India.

See the info-graph for more details.

Workshop on RESPOND intervention design

With the title “Designing Interventions to Improve Patient Feedback Systems at Upazila Health Complexes in Bangladesh” an workshop and dissemination session was held at BMA Bhaban on 20th June, 2018.

The program was chaired by Muhammad Ruhul Quddus, Director General of Health Economics Unit (HEU) of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW). We were also honored to have Md. Ashadul Islam, Director General of BKKB and Former DG of HEU as our Chief Guest and Ashrafunnessa, Director of IEM as our Special Guest.

High officials from MIS – DGHS and MIS – DGFP, HEU, PMMU, GNSPU and Daudkandi UHC also were lively present in the program.

Following presentations on Research Findings of Current Feedback Systems at Upazila Level and SMS Complaints at National Level, the participant joined a plenary session to discuss components of an ideal intervention that can address current gaps and challenges of present feedback systems at Upazila level.

An Executive summary, Protocol of RESPOND research project, Submitted article of Phase-1 findings were shared with the audience in the program.

Policy Dialogue on Improving Health Service Delivery to Achieve Universal Health Coverage

ARK foundation is conducting multiple researches to strengthen health service delivery in Bangladesh, funded by UKAid. ARK, from its experiences working at Upazila Health Complexes and Community Clinics (CC), believes that, responsiveness of both supply and demand side is crucial for ensuring quality health care at Community, Upazila and District levels. We are aware of many challenges related to health system and service delivery, however, we need to find out feasible solutions for short, medium and long term to mitigate the challenges. This requires continuous engagement and commitment of all relevant actors to work in a coordinated way to achieve the stated goals.

Against this backdrop, ARK Foundation, in collaboration with Health Economics Unit of Health Services Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and with the technical support of University of Leeds, UK and UKAid, organised a policy dialogue with senior level policy makers, service delivery personnel, development partners, academia and researchers on 29th March, 2018. The dialogue primarily focused on strengthening health service delivery in the context of achieving universal health coverage.

Objective of the dialogue

The objectives of the dialogue were to share the learning from COMDIS-HSD research carried out in Bangladesh, assess the present state of service delivery and apprise the options for future course in order to move progressively to the planned goal of universal health coverage.

The full report of the event is available here:



A collaborative research of ARK Foundation got attention of the media

Baseline data from our collaborative study on Children Learning About Second-hand Smoke (CLASS-II): A pilot cluster randomised control trial, funded by Medical Research Council, United Kingdom (UK) showed that 95% children had positive exposure to second-hand smoke in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The study was done by ARK Foundation of Bangladesh, University of York and University of Edinburgh in UK.

After published in an Oxford Academic Journal the Research got attention of the national and international media and got focused in Daily Newspapers and TV media. Renowned newspapers and TV news channels in the country published and broadcast news on this issue saying 95% of the children in country are affected by Nicotine. The news got attention of the mass people and helped building awareness through sharing in social media and online platforms.

Dr. Rumana Huque, Executive Director of ARK Foundation and Professor of Dhaka University also commented on the issue in different media saying that for the first time in the country we have been able to confirm the presence of Nicotine in children’s body by examining the saliva of them.

The study completed last year. Another paper is already submitted in “Nicotine and Tobacco Research” for review and another manuscript is under way.

Published article:

Click ‘Play button’ below for the news broadcast:

৯৫ ভাগ শিশুই নিকোটিনের বিষক্রিয়ায় আক্রান্ত।

পরোক্ষ ধূমপানের কারণে ঢাকা ও আশপাশের এলাকার ৯৫ ভাগ শিশুই নিকোটিনের বিষক্রিয়ায় আক্রান্ত। ০৬ জানুয়ারি/১৮ #dbcnews

Posted by DBC NEWS on Friday, January 5, 2018

Poster Presentation at 8th regional Public Health Conference 2017

ARK Researcher Tarana Ferdous presented a poster at 8th regional Public Health Conference 2017 organized by Bangladesh University of Health Science (BUHS) on 29th & 30th December, 2017. The poster topic was “Defining Household and understanding poverty in urban slums: A Qualitative study to inform household survey design in Nepal, Bangladesh and Vietnam.”

Nationally representative household surveys, such as DHS and MICS, are a vital source of information for the planning, monitoring and allocating resources across health and social sectors in low and middle income countries. With rapidly changing population dynamics and particularly, urbanization, many have questioned the appropriateness of these methods in capturing the needs of the urban poor. Main challenges of urban surveys are including as how to define a household, how to measure whether an area is a slum or not, and what are the characteristics of poverty in urban areas.

Therefore, in our survey we are exploring these issues in our pilot surveys and in our qualitative work with urban poor communities in Nepal, Vietnam and Bangladesh. We are part way through our data collection, so early findings from two communities in Kathmandu, Nepal and Dhaka, Bangladesh on the participatory methods were presented in the poster.

Dissemination Workshop on NCD

A dissemination workshop of the study on ‘Social Determinants of Health in the prevention of Non-Communicable Disease’ was held today at Health Economics Unit of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The workshop was organized in collaboration with ARK Foundation and Health Economics Unit of Health Ministry. Different stakeholders from units of government joined the workshop.

S M Abdullah, Assistant Professor of Economics at Dhaka University presented on behalf of ARK Foundation at the event.

Which type of tobacco tax demanded

A written statement was presented by Dr. Rumana Huque, Executive Director of ARK Foundation and Professor, Economics Department, University of Dhaka, at a pre-budget press conference on ‘Which Type of Tobacco Tax Demanded’ that has been held on 8 May at the conference lounge of National Press Club press conference. She stated that the existing tobacco tax structure in Bangladesh is complex and tax is realised by ad valorem system which creates the additional complexity and increases the chances of tax evasion. She also presented facts and possibilities that taxation on tobacco product offers for the government and public health security. Other organizations who has been working against tobacco also put their views and presented the collective demands of increasing the tax on tobacco products to the government through the conference.

ARK Foundation has been working to produce evidence based policies and intervention to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco products on public health. The conference being a platform of leaders and representatives that support our views on acting against tobacco added a value to the activities and helped public and the government realise the urgency of considering the facts for the upcoming budget preparation.

The event has been covered by mainstream Bangladeshi media.

TB Day, 2017: United to End TB – Leave No One Behind

This year the theme of TB day was to be United to End TB – Leaving No One Behind. ARK team observed the day with other partner organizations and National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP) members by joining in a Rally at morning. On the previous day, ARK Foundation distributed 20,000 fact sheets on TB with help of NTP. Throughout the week, ARK and its partners posted information on TB and its control on their social media platforms to build awareness and promote TB control.

Workshop on ‘Creating Responsive Health System’ at Health Economics Unit, MoHFW

A workshop on our new study on ‘Creating a Responsive Health System: improving the use of feedback from service users in quality assurance and human resource management in Bangladesh’ was held at 2:00 PM today at Health Economics unit of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
It was a step towards working together to help building a health system that is more responsive to the service users in the country.
Personnel from MIS, DGFP, DG-MIS, HRM, QIS, GNSP, University of Leeds, UK and ARK joined the workshop.
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