U.S.-Funded Webinar Series with Bangladeshi and U.S. Medical Doctors Improves COVID-19 Case Management

This two-part series is made possible with some of the over $73 million in U.S. COVID-19 response assistance to Bangladesh since March 2020.

Dhaka, March 23, 2021 – Today, Ambassador of the United States to Bangladesh Earl Miller virtually launched a webinar series linking medical universities in Bangladesh and the United States to share best practices in COVID-19 case management. The two part-series contributes to the Strengthening Public Health Cooperation for a Safer Economy goal outlined in the September 30 high-level consultation between United States and Bangladesh, specifically by developing a Vision for Advancing the U.S.-Bangladesh Economic Partnership.

Today’s webinar was organized via partnership between the Directorate General of Health Services of the Government of Bangladesh and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Project ECHO, a platform for distant mentoring and learning managed by the University of New Mexico. It is one of multiple capacity-building initiatives aimed at enhancing the knowledge and medical skills of doctors and other frontline workers in both public and private health facilities to improve the care given to COVID-19 patients and reduce and control the spread of the infection funded over the past year. The program is made possible through over $73 million in COVID-19 response assistance from U.S. government agencies.

This webinar, led by experts from the University of Michigan, is the first of a two-part series bringing together American and Bangladeshi medical professionals to expand and strengthen the exchange of knowledge and experience among U.S. and Bangladeshi academic centers of excellence. Today’s webinar focused on non-ICU-(Intensive Care Unit) based COVID-19 case management. A second webinar, hosted by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University on March 25, will focus on ICU-based COVID-19 case management and treatment.

In October 2020, USAID supported the launch of an e-mentoring program through the University of New Mexico’s Project ECHO platform. As of February 2021, 1,500 Bangladeshi doctors have participated in these virtual sessions, exchanging information and experiences, and participating in mentoring with Bangladeshi experts and enriching their knowledge of COVID-19 case management. USAID is also working with Brown University to develop an online interactive certification course for Bangladeshi medical doctors to update and enhance their medical knowledge and skills.

In speaking at the event, Ambassador Miller congratulated the organizers and participants: “As Bangladesh celebrates its golden jubilee of independence, this webinar and the valuable high-level exchanges and knowledge that will come out of it are great examples of our enduring U.S.- Bangladesh partnership that has thrived for five decades. America continues to work closely with Bangladesh in the fight against COVID-19. We have provided over $73 million to support Bangladesh’s pandemic response and to date have sent 100 state-of-the art-U.S.-manufactured

ventilators to treat critical patients. Our two great nations, together with our global partners, will prevail against this pandemic.” Ambassador Miller also gave a shout-out to his alma mater, the University of Michigan: “Go Blue!”

Professor Dr. Mohammad Shahidullah, Chair of the National COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee, and Professor Dr. Mohammad Titu Miah, Principal, Dhaka Medical College, also participated in the webinar.

The U.S. government, through USAID alone, has provided more than $8 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh since its independence. In 2020, USAID alone provided over $200 million, including nearly $38 million to support Bangladesh’s COVID-19 response efforts, to improve the lives of people in Bangladesh through programs that expand food security and economic opportunity, improve health and education, promote democratic institutions and practices, protect the environment, and increase resilience to climate change. Additionally, the U.S. government has committed $73 million of assistance from multiple agencies to support COVID-19 response efforts.