In Bangladesh, the field of respiratory medicine has bloomed over the years into a distinct entity and a thriving sector, leading to the advent of many pulmonologists. These pulmonologists are working relentlessly for the amelioration of sufferings of patients with respiratory diseases in Bangladesh.
In Bangladesh, we have to operate in resource limited settings, in a developing country. Nevertheless we have the knowledge and skills to ensure satisfactory care for the millions. We shall endeavor to harness our limited resources to optimize quality of care.
In this context, we have formed “Bangladesh Lung Foundation” as an umbrella organization to promote lung health in Bangladesh and the neighboring regions. It was formally launched on February 15, 2007 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bangladesh Lung Foundation is a company limited by guarantee and not having share capital registered under section 29 of the companies act, 1994
a) To encourage and coordinate communication, collaboration and cooperation between the health professions, community organizations, people living with lung disease and the business community on issues relating to lung disease in order to benefit and assist people with lung disease and their care-givers.
b) To formulate and implement campaigns to promote public awareness of lung disease.
c) To encourage health professionals to use recognized and accepted methods of diagnosis, treatment, management and care of people with lung disease.
d) To provide a forum for discussion and communication on lung disease for stakeholders.
e) To encourage the development of policies on lung disease in conjunction with other interested bodies and individuals.
f) To make representations to and consult with any government, non- government bodies or other authorities regarding lung disease
g) To communicate and implement policies or evidence-based and consensus statements on issues related to lung disease developed or adopted by Bangladesh Lung Foundation in relation to the diagnosis, treatment, management and care of people with lung disease.
h) To establish the Bangladesh Lung Foundation as the national co-ordinating body for lung disease issues across all stakeholders at national, international and regional levels.
i) To undertake, and to develop and promote priorities for research into lung disease, including etiological, clinical, educational and epidemiological research, in order to assist in the development of an integrated framework for lung disease research leading to improvement in health, social and economic outcomes.
Bangladesh Lung foundation (BLF) is now treated as a credible “think tank” in the development of pulmonology (respiratory medicine) in Bangladesh.
BLF has published guidelines for the management of all common chest diseases.
Our priority areas are :
In 2007, BLF has carried out a nationwide survey on COPD patients, internationally known as BOLD-BD Study (Burden of Obstructive Lung Diseases-Bangladesh). According to that study, 6.5 million people in Bangladesh over 40 years suffer from COPD.
BLF formed a patient advocacy and support group, i.e. Asthma Club known as Club Excel.
Has established a strong collaboration with regional and international organizations like Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, European Respiratory Society, American Thoracic Society, American College of Chest Physicians, for scientific exchange, training and technology transfer.
BLF has organized a number of Free Lung Disease Clinics in some rural areas such as Mymensingh and at Village Palkanda, Peerhat union P/S Gangachacara, Rangpur. Every month a team goes to Trishal, Mymensingh to run the Free Lung Clinic.
BLF has already organized a number of GP meetings and workshops in Dhaka and Chittagong. Some 50 to 400 doctors took part in each program.
A primary care group based workshop was organized in Khulna as well as an outdoor patient camp and a doctors’ conference was included in the program.
Observance of WORLD COPD DAY on 14th Nov’07 with scientific sessions and patient awareness activities
‘Asthma Prevalence Survey’ was conducted in 2009 throughout the country.
“New lease of life for asthma patients”- an advocacy campaign for promoting smooth transition to CFC-free inhalers, formally completed In light of the Montreal Protocol, Bangladesh is committed to the introduction of CFC-free inhalers within 2012. The BLF embarked on a well planned advocacy campaign with the objective of creating awareness about CFC-free inhalers among the prescribers and users of inhalers on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Environment of the Bangladesh government. It was inaugurated by the Honorable President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in October 2009 and formally closed in March 2012 by the Minister of Health in the presence of the members of Medical and Technical Options Committee of the Montreal Protocol. The campaign has been endorsed as an ideal one by the United Nations Environment Programme. It consisted of a total of 21 meetings, each attended by an average of 200 doctors, held throughout the country. Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd, the leading manufacturer of CFC-free inhalers in the country, sponsored the campaign and achieved total CFC-free compliance status in March.
The United Forum against Tobacco (UFAT): UFAT is an alliance of five professional bodies viz. BLF, Association of Physicians of Bangladesh (APB), Bangladesh Cancer Society, Bangladesh Society of Medicine and the National Heart Foundation formed in 2010 under the leadership of National Prof. Brig. M.A Malik, former Advisor of the Caretaker Government. UFAT is a Bloomberg initiative (BI) grantee and has involved physicians at many levels in anti-tobacco activities throughout Bangladesh. It organized a National Conference on Tobacco Control in Dhaka in April 2013, which was well attended by eminent personalities from a wide range of professions. A panel discussion was held to formulate a plan of action for greater success in tobacco control. In the plan for action, the conference strongly proposed raising taxes on tobacco products to discourage smoking. As a member of the United Forum against Tobacco (UFAT), in observance of the “World No Tobacco Day” we have participated in workshops on the “Engagement of physicians in advocacy on tobacco control”. Furthermore, we have successfully lobbied for increase in taxes on tobacco products.. We are actively involved in promoting smoke free work places. The efforts of UFAT have borne fruit through the successful passage of the amended Tobacco Control Act by the National Parliament in 2013 and increase in taxes on tobacco products. Our efforts have borne fruit and we are happy to say that the Finance Minister has proposed increased taxes on tobacco products in the annual budget.
Linkage with other professional organizations- We have established ourselves on the global arena through strong collaboration with regional and international organizations like American Thoracic Society (ATS), American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), European Respiratory Society (ERS), Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD), Indian College of Asthma, Allergy & Applied Immunology, Indian Chest Society, International COPD Coalition (ICC), International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG), Japanese Respiratory Society (JRS) National Asthma Council, Australia and Pakistan Chest Society for scientific exchange, training and technology transfer.
TBXpert Project in Bangladesh: BLF will be an implementing partner of the TBXpert Project in Bangladesh where it will develop novel public-private partnerships in cooperation with local partners (ICDDR, B and BRAC) and NTPs to accelerate uptake and increase demand for Xpert MTB/RIF from patients seeking care in the private sector. The project will provide state of the art digital chest X-rays and free Xpert MTB/RIF testing for those at high risk of TB and free treatment for all TB cases detected. The TBXpert Project will provide approximately 1.4 million Xpert MTB/RIF test cartridges and over 200 GeneXpert instruments for the rapid detection of TB and rifampicin resistance in 21 recipient countries in 2013- 2015 (see map and list of recipient countries below). The Project will be funded by UNITAID and executed by the WHO Stop TB Department and the Stop TB Partnership. To ensure country absorptive capacity and effective use of the technology, the TBXpert Project links a broad network of partners and existing initiatives for TB laboratory strengthening and innovative approaches to expand access to vulnerable populations in both the public and private sector.
Dissemination of International Standards of Tuberculosis Care (ISTC) in Bangladesh: BLF entered into an agreement with the American Thoracic Society (ATS), under Collaborations in TB Care and Control project for Dissemination of International Standards of Tuberculosis Care (ISTC) in Bangladesh in 2009. It was done through various workshops conducted at leading medical schools of the country.
World Spirometry Day: The BLF chalked out elaborate programmes for observing the World Spirometry Day on 27 June, 2012 a day-long “Hands-on Workshop on Spirometry” for doctors and on 26 June, 2012 to popularize spirometry , mass spirometry camps was organized at various venues.
Observance of WORLD COPD DAY on 14th Nov’07 with scientific sessions and patient awareness activities
Workshops on Evidence Based Medicine: We have organized seven workshops in collaboration with the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons for medical professionals at all levels in different parts of the country.
International Workshop on Mechanical Ventilation and Bronchoscopy: This workshop was organized in collaboration with the Bangladesh Society of Critical Care Medicine and the Bangladesh Medical Association of North America in Dhaka. It was attended by critical care physicians and pulmonologists from all over the country. We intend to organize such workshops regularly in other cities of Bangladesh to promote quality care in critical care medicine and pulmonology.
First International Conference on Lung Health The Bangladesh Lung Foundation (BLF) organized the First International Conference on Lung Health on February 21-22, 2008. It was attended by more than 600 registered participants from Bangladesh and about 30 doctors from abroad. Foreign Dignitaries included Prof. Norbert Berend, the President of APSR, Prof. Toshihiro Nukiwa, former President of Japanese Thoracic Society, A/ Prof. Ron Tomlins Treasurer, IPCRG, Prof. V.K. Vijayan, Director, VP Chest Institute, India, Prof. Ashok Shah, President National College of Chest Physicians, India and Dr. Osman Yusuf, Member, Board of Directors, WAO . A large number of papers were presented on state of the art issues in Respiratory Medicine. A special feature of the Conference was the best Poster award sponsored by the National Asthma Council, Australia which provided round trip air tickets enabling the awardees to attend the APSR Congress in Bangkok.
Congress of ‘Total Lung Health’ was held in October 13-17, 2009 jointly organized by BLF and BANSAI.
Second International Conference on Lung Health: “Pulmocon 2010” From 17 February to 23 February.
Third International Conference on Lung Health: “Pulmocon 2013” held from 19-20 February 2013.
Fourth International Conference on Lung Health: “Pulmocon 2015” held from 17-20 November, 2015.
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