Garment WorkersGarment Workers


Ruhul Abid, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Cardiovascular Research Center has spearheaded many of GHI’s ongoing collaborations in Bangladesh, leading to opportunities for research, learning and service with Brown GHI.   Over the last several years several Brown undergraduates, medical students and residents have traveled to Bangladesh and the Rohingya camps in Cox Bazaar to volunteer and conduct research Dr. Abid’s mentorship.

Health and Education for All (HEAFA)

Health and Education for All (HAEFA) is a nonprofit created and led by Ruhul Abid, MD. PhD, HEAFA provides free, quality health care, and essential services to hard-to-reach people who are underserved in Bangladesh including Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, industrial workers such as garment factory workers and rickshaw pullers.    

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HEAFA health tent, Rohingya campsHEAFA health tent, Rohingya camps

 Ongoing Research 

Full Title: A Public Health Approach for Managing and Strengthening Cervical Cancer Program in Bangladesh
Funding Agency: United Nations Population Fund-(UNPFA) – Bangladesh
Funding period: 10/1/2019-12/31/2021
Principal Investigators: Susan Cu-Uvin, MD Co-I: Ruhul Abid, MD, PhD  

Worldwide, 450,000 women are affected by cervical cancer yearly, and 260,000 will die from it. 85% of those affected live in low and middle income countries. In Bangladesh, cervical cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death among women with annual deaths of 11.5 per 100,000 women (6,500 deaths/year). Crude incidence rate among 15-44-year-old women is 19.2 per 100,000. 40%-60% of diagnosed cases die within one year due to lack of effective screening program. In a recent review of the cervical cancer screening program of Bangladesh, it was reported that the program at present is based largely on opportunistic screening with good central coordination and some elements of organized screening.  The main objective of this program is to strengthen cervical cancer prevention programs with the ultimate goal of reducing the incidence, prevalence and death from cervical cancer.

This program, funded by UNFPA/DFID has developed an educational campaign on HPV infection and cervical cancer prevention and expanded the training of health care providers (including nurses, midwives and doctors) on cervical cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment in accordance with the National Strategy for Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control program. The program has implemented an effective and organized cervical cancer screening and treatment program, currently focused in Kurigram district,  using a single visit see and treat model (VIA with mobile ODT/thermocoagulation) and appropriate referral for more advanced lesions, and provides quality assurance monitoring, data management and evaluation systems. 

Completed Research 

Full Title: Understanding Disease Burden among the Garments Workers and Establishing an Effective Linkage between the In-House Clinics and Nearby State and Non-State Health Facilities

Funding Agency: Crown Agents/Department for International Development (DFID), UKAID, Joint Donor Technical Assistance Fund (JDTAF)

Funding period: 8/1/2016-12/31/2016
Total award: $238,000 

Ruhul Abid, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Surgery (Research) received funding for a project studying the health of garment workers in Bangladesh. This funding comes from the Crown Agents, UK, a procurement agency for the Department for International Development (DFID), UK, also known as UKAID. The recipient of the project deliverables is Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Development Program (HPNSDP) of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh. MOHFW has been working with HPNSDP with the goal of ensuring quality and equitable health care for all citizens in Bangladesh by improving access to and utilization of health, population and nutrition services.

HEAFA Rohingya camps, 2017HEAFA Rohingya camps, 2017