NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

Ahad Mahmud Khan

Project: Developing a video expert panel as a reference standard to evaluate respiratory rate counters in paediatric pneumonia diagnosis

PhD overview

  • Acute or chronic:  Acute
  • Country:  Bangladesh
  • Based at:  The University of Edinburgh, Projahnmo Research Foundation
  • Start date:  01 September 2019
  • End date:  31 August 2022
  • Supervisors:  Harry Campbell, Steve Cunningham, Ting Shi, Eric McCollum, Abdullah Baqui
  • Email:
  • Funded by:  This PhD is match-funded by the University of Edinburgh
  • RESPIRE PhD student: Ahad Mahmud Khan
Ahad Mahmud Khan
RESPIRE PhD student: Ahad Mahmud Khan


Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of mortality in children, worldwide. The most common sign of pneumonia is fast breathing, which is identified by observing a child’s chest and counting respiratory rate (RR) manually. The RR is often miscounted by health workers, resulting in inaccurate diagnosis and inappropriate treatment. Some improved RR counters (e.g., ChARM, Rad-G) can count RR and classify fast and normal breathing automatically.

For evaluating the performance of these devices in the field setting, a reference standard is needed. However, the absence of an appropriate reference standard is a challenge. The commonly used reference standard are expert manual RR counts, capnography, etc. that might be biased. Videography of the child’s chest movements and RR interpretation from these videos could be used as a reference standard.

Aim and impact

This project aims to develop a video expert panel (VEP) as a reference standard for evaluating RR counters in paediatric pneumonia diagnosis. A process for videography of the child’s chest movements will be developed and the VEP will interpret RR from the recorded videos. An automated RR counter will be evaluated using VEP as the reference standard.

The study results might provide evidence to establish the VEP as an ideal and non-biased reference standard for evaluating new RR counters.

About me

I was trained in Medicine at Dhaka Medical College, Bangladesh, in 2009, and completed my Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology from the National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine, Bangladesh, in 2014.

I have been working with Projahnmo Research Foundation for six years. I have several 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 a special focus on paediatric pneumonia.

Three-Minute Thesis-Style Video Competition

For the RESPIRE ASM Showcase on the 24th November 2020, the RESPIRE PhD students recorded videos explaining their research, as part of a Three-Minute Thesis-Style Video Competition. Watch Ahad's presentation, below:

Video: KHAN, Ahad
RESPIRE 3-Minute Thesis-Style Video Competition - KHAN, Ahad - Developing a video expert panel to evaluate breathing rate counting devices in childhood pneumonia diagnosis