NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

GM Monsur Habib

Project: Enhancing access to pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) through implementation research in Bangladesh

PhD overview

  • Acute or chronic:  Chronic
  • Country:  Bangladesh
  • Based at:  Bangladesh Primary Care Respiratory Society (BPCRS)
  • Start date:  1 July 2018
  • End date:  30 June 2021
  • Supervisors:  Hilary Pinnock, Roberto Rabinovich, Samir K Saha, Aftab Uddin
  • Email: 
Monsur Habib Headshot
RESPIRE PhD student: Monsur Habib


As respiratory infection is better controlled in Bangladesh, chronic respiratory diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, are emerging as the major health threat.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) is proven to be the most effective strategy to improve shortness of breath, health status and exercise tolerance as well as reducing re-admissions and mortality in patients with recent exacerbations.

While PR uptake is significant in developed countries, in Bangladesh it is a relatively new intervention.

Aim and impact

The aim of this PhD is to develop and pilot a PR programme that could be scaled up in Bangladesh.

If successful, the service could be implemented in community clinics and at home across Bangladesh. The long-term target of the study is to sustain and enhance access of PR in Bangladesh, reducing hospitalisation, morbidity and mortality from chronic respiratory diseases.


Systematic review of clinical effectiveness, components, and delivery of pulmonary rehabilitation in low-resource settings. 

Habib, G.M., Rabinovich, R., Divgi, K., Ahmed, S., Saha, S.K., Singh, S., Uddin, A., Uzzaman, M.N., Pinnock, H.

npj Prim. Care Respir. Med. 30, 52 (2020).  

Engaging with stakeholders in a research programme to promote implementation of pulmonary rehabilitation in Bangladesh: Challenges and opportunities.

Habib GMM, Uzzaman MN, Malik P, Rabinovich R, Uddin A, Alam SMR, Williams S, Pinnock H.

J Glob Health 2020;10:020384.

Systematic review (protocol) of clinical effectiveness and models of care of low-resource pulmonary rehabilitation.

Habib GMM, Rabinovich R, Divgi K, Ahmed S, Saha SK, Singh S, Uddin A & Pinnock H.

NPJ Prim Care Respir Med. 2019 Apr; 29:10

Key developments

  • Monsur has appeared on primetime television in Bangladesh, raising awareness of PR - watch one of the recordings on YouTube.
  • Established a patient advisory group to provide feedback and input into research studies.
  • Held several multi-group stakeholder meetings (policymakers, public and private health professionals) to share findings from his RESPIRE study and raise the priority for pulmonary rehabilitation and primary healthcare in Bangladesh.
  • Provided training for public and private physicians and healthcare workers from Bangladesh, Malaysia and India, in management of chronic respiratory diseases.
  • Co-authored a pocket guide to inform the safe re-opening of private primary care practices in Bangladesh during the COVID-19 pandemic - see the RESPIRE news story.

Project data

Download the project Data Management Plan 

View the project metadata on the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway

About me

I have over 30 years of experience in primary health care, with a particular interest in asthma. I am President of the Bangladesh Primary Care Respiratory Group, as well as a founding member of the International Primary Care Respiratory Group.

I run a Community Respiratory Clinic in Khulna, Bangladesh, providing consultations to over 30 asthma and COPD patients daily. In 2008, I started the educational project “Better Breathing Bangladesh”, supported by IPCRG and recognised by WHO-GARD, and I’m also involved in small group asthma and COPD training in Bangladesh.

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 Monsur's presentation below.

Video: HABIB, Monsur
RESPIRE 3-Minute Thesis-Style Video Competition - HABIB, Monsur - Enhancing access to pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) through implementation research in Bangladesh