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  • Australia Awards
  • Bangladesh

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not just health workers who are helping their fellow citizens. Engineer and Australia Awards alumnus Mohammad Shahe Arefeen is playing a vital role in ensuring safe roads in remote areas in Bangladesh so that emergency supplies and services can reach the people who need them. Outside of his employment, he is also volunteering to assist low-income earners and marginalised groups affected by the pandemic.

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  • Australia Awards
  • Nepal

In the first half of 2020, several Nepalese Australia Awards alumnae made notable development contributions by publishing significant research in the fields of gender equality and social inclusion, education, and empowerment of marginalised communities. Through articles in acclaimed international peer-reviewed journals and research project reports, these women are contributing to knowledge production in crucial areas of Nepal’s development agenda.

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  • Australia Awards
  • Bangladesh

Australia Awards alumnus Dr Aninda Rahman’s ambition was always to become a leader in disease surveillance and to be a health policymaker. He is fulfilling this dream—and changing lives—as the Deputy Program Manager (antimicrobial resistance containment, viral hepatitis and diarrhoea control program) of the Communicable Disease Control (CDC) unit at the Bangladesh Directorate General of Health Services. In this role, he provides essential support to improve public health capacities that are needed to detect and respond to communicable diseases.

Notably, Dr Rahman has been active in Bangladesh’s response to the outbreak of COVID-19. He has produced key documents and has helped train doctors and frontline workers to respond better to the pandemic.

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  • Bangladesh

COVID-19 has affected all of us but has had a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable groups, such as special needs children and their families. For children with developmental challenges, loss of social contact and changes in routines can be particularly intense. In response, Australia Awards alumna Nurunnahar Nupur is using digital technology to support such children in Bangladesh.

Nupur is the Managing Director / Founder of ‘Positive Thinking’ in Bangladesh, a school for children with special needs. As an occupational therapist, Nupur is helping children with disability and their families to adapt to the changes and maintain their wellbeing during the pandemic.

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  • Australia Awards
  • Bangladesh

Australia Awards alumnus Dr Mohammod Jobayer Chisti is a globally renowned scientist, research paediatrician and expert in infectious diseases. In 2015, he led the invention of a low-cost oxygen therapy apparatus to treat children with severe pneumonia and hypoxemia. He is now modifying this device as a means of overcoming the shortage of ventilators for COVID-19 patients.

Dr Chisti is Clinical Lead of the Intensive Care Unit at Dhaka Hospital and a Senior Scientist at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b). Together with his team at icddr,b, Dr Chisti invented a low-cost version of a bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This innovation produced a cheap and effective method of oxygen therapy that uses shampoo bottles to treat children with severe pneumonia. It received the People’s Choice Award for Most Promising Childhood Pneumonia Innovation at the Pneumonia Innovations Summit in New York in 2015.

More recently, Dr Chisti has been working closely with the Government of Bangladesh on research activities and capacity building as part of its COVID-19 response. He is now focusing on optimising the treatment of adult COVID-19 patients with severe pneumonia by using an adapted version of the low-cost bubble CPAP machine.

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