A groundbreaking research programme to prevent type 2 diabetes among Bangladeshi women with gestational diabetes was launched in Dhaka on Wednesday.
The programme, titled “Lifestyle Intervention in Gestational Diabetes (LIVING)”, was launched at the Directorate General of Family Planning in Karwan Bazar by the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), and the George Institute, Australia.
"We need a low-cost but effective intervention for the prevention of the rising burden of diabetes in Bangladesh,” said Dr Aliya Naheed, head of Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Initiative at the icddr,b who is leading the Bangladesh side of the research programme.
“Preventing diabetes by promoting low-intensity behavioural intervention in women in their reproductive age might be a faster track solution for Bangladesh.”
Based on the findings of a formative research, the LIVING study has been customised for the Bangladeshi healthcare system and could be easily adopted in both public and private facilities in the country.
In her keynote speech, Prof Dr Anushka Patel, chief scientist of the George Institute who is spearheading the multinational trial, highlighted the high risks of NCDs among women as a result of being exposed to hypertension and diabetes during pregnancy.
“One in every seven births is affected by gestational diabetes, and two out of every five women with diabetes are of reproductive age – attributing to over 60 million cases worldwide,” she said.
Dr Patel briefly described the goal of the research programme, emphasising the scopes that the LIVING trial had created for finding ways to prevent diabetes in women.
“LIVING has been pragmatically designed for a South Asian setting and is easily scalable in the health systems of Bangladesh,” she said.
The LIVING trial is taking place at 24 facilities in three countries that provide maternal and child healthcare.
It will enrol 1,414 women with prior cases of gestational diabetes and evaluate the impact of a tailored lifestyle intervention to reduce the chances of type 2 diabetes among women.
The study in Bangladesh is being conducted by icddr,b in collaboration with Maternal Child Health and Training Institution in Azimpur, Mohammadpur Fertility Services and Training Centre, BIRDEM Hospital in Shegunbagicha, and Marie Stopes Clinic in Dhanmondi.
Dr Jahangir Alam Sarker, directorate general of health services, was present at the launching ceremony as chief guest. Dr Richard Smith, chair of icddr,b Board of Trustees, and Dr Quamrun Nahar, acting senior director of the Health Systems and Population Studies Division, were also in attendance.