NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

Ahmed Ehsanur Rahman

Project: Implementation research on introducing pulse oximetry with routine IMCI services at first level health facilities of Bangladesh (Embedded PhD project)

PhD Project Details

  • Acute or chronic:  Acute
  • Country:  Bangladesh
  • Based at: International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b)
  • Start date:  01 June 2018
  • End date:  30 May 2021
  • Supervisors: Harry Campbell, David Dockrell, Harish Nair, Shams El-Arifeen
  • Email:
Ahmed Ehsanur Rahman Headshot
RESPIRE PhD student: Ahmed Ehsanur Rahman


Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) is a global strategy, developed by WHO and UNICEF, for the management of common childhood illnesses, including pneumonia, in low-resource settings. IMCI guides a service provider to follow a step-by-step approach in history taking, clinical assessment, classification of the illness and treatment for a sick child. Classifications depend on the clinical assessment skills of service providers and this subjectivity might lead to misclassification and inappropriate referral/treatment.

Hypoxemia (low levels of oxygen in the blood) is one of the strongest predictors of mortality due to pneumonia in children. Pulse oximetry (PO) is a non-invasive method for monitoring a person's blood oxygen level. The integration of PO in IMCI services could improve the accuracy of pneumonia diagnosis and treatment.

However, most primary care facilities in Bangladesh do not use PO and there are several barriers and challenges associated with introducing a new technology in developing country settings.

Aim and impact

This PhD aims to assess the feasibility, acceptability and operational challenges of introducing PO in IMCI services at first-level primary care health facilities in Bangladesh, as well as evaluating its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.

This PhD forms part of a wider RESPIRE project, looking at the introduction of PO in Bangladesh.

If successful, introducing PO would allow for a more accurate classification of pneumonia and the delivery of appropriate treatment, improving pneumonia outcomes in Bangladeshi children and potentially more widely across the globe.

Find out more about the wider RESPIRE pulse oximetry project

Project data

View the project metadata on the Health Data Research Innovations Gateway

About me

I completed an MBBS in 2007 at Dhaka Medical College before going on the complete a Masters in Public Health (MPH) in 2011 from the James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University. I received the Vice Chancellor Award for securing the highest CGPA in the academic calendar and Allan Rosenfield Award for the best overall performance in the MPH programme.

I have ten years of experience in public health, as a programme implementer and as a researcher.

My passion lies in testing innovations and exploring novel approaches to address the existing gaps in service availability, readiness and quality of care related to child health services in resource-poor settings.

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 Ehsan's presentation below.

Video: RAHMAN, Ahmed Ehsanur
RESPIRE 3-Minute Thesis-Style Video Competition - RAHMAN, Ahmed Ehsanur - Feasibilty of introducing pulse oximetry in routine IMCI services in rural Bangladesh