NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

Professor Samir Saha wins Ekushey Padak, the second highest civilian award in Bangladesh

Professor Samir Saha, Executive Director of Child Health Research Foundation, Bangladesh, and Co-Lead on the RESPIRE Acute Respiratory Disorders Programme of work has won the second highest civilian award in Bangladesh, the Ekushey Padak

Congratulations to Professor Samir Saha on winning the Ekushey Padak, Bangladesh’s second highest civilian award.

Professor Saha has won the award in recognition of his contributions to the field of research in Bangladesh.

Professor Saha’s contribution to research in Bangladesh

Professor Saha has dedicated his life to research which will have a direct positive impact on the health of children in Bangladesh. He specialises in paediatric infectious diseases: meningitis, enteric fever and pneumonia. He played a key role in implementing vaccines against two bacteria that cause meningitis and pneumonia in Bangladesh.

In the RESPIRE Collaboration, Professor Saha co-leads the Acute Respiratory Disorders Programme, and is leading on two research projects based in Bangladesh.

He is helping to develop a framework to automatically interpret paediatric x-rays to diagnose pneumonia. This project will help health care workers to efficiently diagnose pneumonia, without needing expert verification. It will ultimately incentivise the use of chest x-ray as the go-to diagnostic for evidence-based interventions. This will potentially be a more accurate method for detecting pneumonia in children, which could save many lives.

Computational framework to interpret chest X-rays and diagnose pneumonia

He and his team are also investigating the long-term effects of respiratory syncytial virus-associated acute lower respiratory tract infections (RSV-LRTI) in young children. RSV-LRTI is associated with the development of childhood asthma, which in turn is a major risk factor of asthma in adulthood and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. Data from this study will help us appreciate the implications of introducing an RSV vaccine when it becomes available. These efforts could save the lives of young children in the future.

Consequence of RSV infection in young infants

Ekushey Padak

The Ekushey Paday awards were introduced in memory of the martyrs of the Bengali Language Movement of 1952. The Bangladeshi government’s Ministry of Cultural Affairs presents the award to recognise contributions to a number of fields, including culture, education and economics as well as research.

Professor Saha is very proud to receive this award. He said:

I’m thankful for my struggles because without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength and motivation. It is a true honor and privilege for me to receive the Ekushey Padak, as this award acknowledges me and my team's work to a great extent.

Professor Samir Saha