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Dhaka and Matlab, Bangladesh


Site Institution: International Centre of Diarrhoeal Diseases, Bangladesh (iccddr,b)
U.S. Institution: Stanford University
Research Areas: Diarrheal & Chronic Noncommunicable Diseases in Slums

Site Description:
icddr,b is an international health research organization based in Dhaka that will serve as a training site for a wide array of issues relevant to slum health. icddr,b has a mix of national and international staff, including public health scientists, laboratory scientists, clinicians, nutritionists, epidemiologists, demographers, social and behavioral scientists, IT professionals, and experts in emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, and vaccine sciences. The Centre has a cross-cultural environment, with 95% local staff including researchers, medical officers, administrators, and health workers, and 5% international staff primarily from academic and research institutions engaged in global health research. icddr,b maintains a number of field sites to conduct research among communities living within an environment that is typical of low income Bangladesh. The largest and oldest of these is Matlab, located 55 km southeast of Dhaka. With >45 years of continuous demographic information on a population of over 200,000 people, Matlab is a major rural field site and a major public health resource for the world. The Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) at Matlab covers a population of ~225,000 providing data necessary to plan, conduct, and evaluate various types of public health intervention research.

  1. The WASH Benefits study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: this is a large randomized factorial trial that is evaluating the impact of improvements in water quality, sanitation, handwashing and nutrition on child growth and cognitive development. The study will enroll 15,000 children in Bangladesh and Kenya and will include in-depth investigations on 3000 children to evaluate environmental enteropathy.
  2. Epigenetic changes in asthma patients in rural and urban settings – this study will assess whether exposure to ambient air pollution leads to modifications in particular genes involved in regulation of immune cells, increasing the risk for and severity of asthma.
  3. Factors affecting the development of chronic, non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes in urban and rural populations.
  4. Maternal and child health studies looking at immune responses to prenatal supplementation of zinc, vitamins A & D, micronutrients, and vaccines.
  5. Fertilizer use and the epidemiology and evolution of cholera: an interdisciplinary examination of the possible consequences of fertilizer-dependent intensive agriculture on algal ecology and infectious disease epidemics by microbes such as Vibrio cholerae, the cause of seasonal Asiatic cholera epidemics. Related interests include the impact of climate change on transmission dynamics of water-borne and vector-borne diseases and environmental changes in health due to the rise in sea water level in coastal communities.
  6. Mapping urban health disparities in health care: this study uses mixed methods and GIS techniques to examine the density and nature of service provision to the poor, both formal and informal, private and public.
  7. Mobilizing demand for urban health equity: in collaboration with the James P Grant School of Public Health, this three year project investigates governance challenges and solutions in addressing inequities in health urban slums, convening local government stakeholders to nurture intersectoral solutions, and learning about best practices in community engagement and demand creation for health equity.
  8. Food security and nutrition surveillance in Bangladesh: in collaboration with James P Grant School of Public Health, this ongoing national surveillance system provides rich opportunities to examine annual and seasonal trends and relationships between household food security, the nutrition of women and adolescent girls, maternal and child care practices, child health and nutrition, and dietary diversity measures. Regional and urban/rural trends can also be explored, and linkages made to climatic, food production and market data.