Bangladesh Health Watch organized a Webinar on June 22, 2021 at 11.00 am to disseminate a study titled Drivers of Covid 19 in Slums and Non-slum Areas of Dhaka and Chattogram findings conducted by icddr,b. Dr. Tahmeed Ahmed, Executive Director, icddr,b was the Chief Guest at the webinar.
The study has recently been completed to evaluate the extent of spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection in symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals residing in the slum and non-slum communities in Dhaka, and Chattogram, and analyze various factors associated with seropositivity. The study was supported by UNFPA/FCDO; Bangladesh Health Watch was the advocacy partner.
The webinar was moderated by Dr. Yasmin H Ahmed, Advisor, BHW and the especial guests were:
Dr. Daniel D. Reidpath, Senior Director, icddr,b
Dr. Shehlina Ahmed, Health Adviser, FCDO
Dr. Firdausi Qadri, Senior Scientist, icddr,b
Professor Dr. Mahmudur Rahman, Independent Consultant and Chair of the Executive Advisory Committee of the study.
At the onset, the moderator welcomed the participants and gave a short brief of the program.
Dr. Rubhana Raqib, Senior Scientist, icddr,b & Principal Investigator presented key findings of the study.
The main objective of the study was to ascertain the sero-prevalence of Covid -19 among slum and non-slum dwellers and identify probable risk factors. The risk factors which were examined included presence of other respiratory viruses, nutritional factors (Viatmin D, Zinc, Selenium), and immunological factors. A cross-sectional study was carried out among 3220 people residing in slums and adjacent non-slum areas in Dhaka and Chattogram cities, between October 2020 and February 2021. Household level interviews, blood pressure and anthropometric measurements, and blood samples were collected. SARS-CoV-2 serology was assessed by Roche Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoassay (approved for emergency use by FDA).
Key findings: Overall sero-positivity was higher in Dhaka than in Chittagong. The estimated SARS-CoV-2 antibody seroprevalence was higher in slums than in the adjacent low-to-middle-income non-slum areas. Preventive measure such as frequent washing of hands had a beneficial impact on infection. Other driving factors associated with seropositivity included overweight, diabetes and hypertension. Being engaged in moderate physical activity were associated with lower probability of seropositivity. The study found high prevalence of Vitamin D insufficiency.
A total of 100 participants from different sector i.e. Govt. officials, Public health experts, Physicians, Development activists, civil society members, journalists, development partners, donor representatives joined the webinar and participated in the discussion session providing their valuable opinions.
Media coverage: The event got huge media attention. Almost all leading print and electronic media including Prothom Alo, Daily Star, The New Age, The Business Standard, The Bonik Barta published report on the event.
Media Coverage Status
The moderator concluded the event by giving thanks to all for their active participation and valuable comments.