NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

Ahad Mahmud Khan

Project: Usability and performance of novel paediatric pulse oximeters and multi-modal devices – pragmatic evaluation in a LMIC setting

PhD overview

  • Acute or chronic:  Acute
  • Country:  Bangladesh
  • Based at:  The University of Edinburgh, Projahnmo Research Foundation
  • Start date:  09 September 2019
  • End date:  31 August 2022
  • Supervisors:  Harry Campbell, Steve Cunningham, Eric McCollum, Abdullah Baqui
  • Email:
Ahad Mahmud Khan
RESPIRE PhD student: Ahad Mahmud Khan


Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of child deaths worldwide. Severe pneumonia is associated with hypoxemia which can be detected non-invasively with a pulse oximeter. Despite being in widespread use in high-income settings, the uptake of pulse oximeters in low-income countries has been limited due to cost, durability and lack of systems to support this essential technology. Counting the respiratory rate (RR) manually can be challenging for health workers, and the misclassification may often lead to incorrect diagnosis and inappropriate treatment.

Masimo Rad5 is the current market leading pulse oximeter in identifying hypoxemia. Masimo has recently designed Rad-G which has additional features of counting RR and generating treatment recommendations. Other novel low-cost devices include Lifebox pulse oximeters, fingertip pulse oximeters, Masimo mobile phone pulse oximeters. For any device, reporting a number on which life or death treatment decisions are made, accuracy, speed and ease of use are paramount.

Aim and impact

This project aims to determine whether these novel, lower-cost pulse oximeters and multimodal devices, that have been designed specifically for low-income paediatric populations, perform equivalently to market-leading standards, and current paediatric assessment protocols in terms of accuracy and usability specifically for children aged 0-35 months, suitable for use at the different health service levels in developing countries.

The study might provide evidence that influence the current practice in use of pulse oximeters and multimodal devices, and it is of great interest to policy for paediatric pneumonia.

Key developments

  • Developing the research proposal

About me

I was trained in Medicine at Dhaka Medical College, Bangladesh in 2009 and completed my Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine, Bangladesh in 2014. I have been working with Projahnmo Research Foundation for four years. I have seven years of experience working in different public health research projects which cover a wide array of topics such as maternal, newborn and child health. My primary area of research interest is paediatric infectious diseases with special focus on paediatric pneumonia.