|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2019 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 112-113
Medical research in Bangladesh
Rajat Sanker Roy Biswas, Shaikh Md Hasan Mamun
Department of Medicine, Chattogram Maa O Shishu Hospital Medical College, Chittagong, Bangladesh
|Date of Web Publication||28-Jan-2020|
Dr. Rajat Sanker Roy Biswas
Chattogram Maa O Shishu Hospital Medical College, Agrabad, Chittagong
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Biswas RS, Mamun SM. Medical research in Bangladesh. J Sci Soc 2019;46:112-3
Science is ever-changing. New concepts are evolving and old concepts are replacing them. Medical science is closely interrelated with scientific research. Today's truth in medical science may be tomorrow's big fault. Hence, medical personnel should be very much actively attached in upgrading their knowledge. Otherwise, they will be in the generation gap and ultimately patients will be in danger. Actively involving with research and different research- related activities would make them upgraded.
In Bangladesh, research activity is in its very primitive stage. Here, research involvement of a student starts actively during higher study. For postgraduation, students need a research work in the form of dissertation or thesis. Supervisors have to guide them. However, sometimes, supervision of all their activities from the literature search, protocol preparation, data collection, data analysis, report writing, and publication are poor. Students think that they should do it only to pass and supervisor think that why should they pay attention and time as it is nonprofitable. Again, when a student puts different related papers to the supervisors table, it remains untouched for a long time and returned back to the students with very few observations. Most of the times, students make it prepared from professional people who used to do it as a contract basis. During defending the thesis or dissertation, it is overlooked and students pass and when they become the supervisor, same thing happens to the new students. A vicious circle continues.
Again most of the faculties in clinical site are clinicians. They used to consult the patients in the hospital for the working time. As we have populations of 170 million, all hospitals are burdened with patients. There is a huge patient burden. Hence, those clinicians keep them busy in the evening time for private practice. As they are poorly paid, they need to compensate by doing private practice to fulfill their basic financial needs. Hence, they become tired after dealing such an enormous patients in the hospitals and chamber; as a result, they become unable to provide proper time to the research work or research activity. On the other hand, faculties of basic subjects do not get nonpracticing allowance and as there are very little or no research grants and there are no well-equipped laboratory for their departments, they are also not interested in doing research.
Publications are the prerequisites in Bangladesh for the promotion of the medical faculties from assistant professor to professor. So those do not have publications become very much aggressive to have publication to have their promotion. This is taken by some people and they prepare papers with fake data. Again sometimes, there are political pressures to the editors to publish the paper in the journals which is totally unacceptable. Sometimes, there are financial conflicts between the writer and publisher.
On the other side, there are some devoted people who are trying to do some research works. But, there are a very few funding authorities. The Bangladesh Medical Research Council provides some funds for the research work, but a researcher who applies there feels that there is lacking of transparency and honesty in providing research grant. They also tell that those who get the grant, find problems in getting that at different point of collection. Some medical colleges provide fund for the research, but it is too small to note. Like Chattogram Maa O Shishu Hospital provides 20,000–30,000 taka for any accepted protocol. Even than though these are very minimum amount, but it is started and we can find positives from it.
There are some freelance researchers who work on infectious diseases such as malaria, kala-azar, snake bites, viral hepatitis, or some noncommunicable diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. They used to collect funds from abroad and their research works positively helping the young researchers to upgrade themselves. But these are scarce. In Bangladesh, there is also an internationally standard research center (International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research Bangladesh) which is working for research in diarrhea, cholera, and other infectious and noninfectious diseases. Lot of experts from home and abroad work there.
Publication in scientific papers is also prevailing in a fearful situation. There are only 1–2 journals; those include PubMed standard and Banglajol supported by the International network for the availability of scientific publications (INASP) that maintain the online publications of different medical and scientific journals of Bangladesh. But, they do not work for quality control. They only maintain the website and published the articles online. They try to qualify the journals by stars from one star to five star and very few journals have five star quality.
Different government and private medical colleges have their own journals. They used to publish the research work regularly. But, very few of them have the ethical review board and quality assurance body and someone though have, their activity is not up to the mark.
Copy paste and plagiarism is prevailing very fearfully. Maximum journals are not in online and plagiarism check is not possible. Hence, people used to do it frequently. Again ghost authors and authors who are not involved in the study are shown in the author list. This practice has made some people lazy and they hope that they can manage the authorship somehow and their promotion will not be halted anyhow.
But how to overcome? We need to become more research minded. During the postgraduate study, doing thesis and dissertation should be completed in an honest way. All the pros and cons of the research should be learnt in that stage. Supervisors should play their part and they should provide time to make the student efficient. Authority should provide adequate financial support both for the students and the supervisor. There should be an Ethical Review Board and regulatory authority who will maintain the utmost quality to have the research work acceptable nationally and internationally.
Bangladesh spends 0.92% of its GDP in 2018 as health expenditure for the country, which is a very poor figure. This is a problem and so sometimes though positive intension is there practically, it may not be possible to provide adequate funds for the research. But presently, conditions are improving. At different medical universities funding is being provided for research, people are attending different seminars and conferences and getting trained from abroad. By that their thinkings and views are upgrading. So to keep pace with the modern science, we should be more research minded.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
| References|| |
Biswas RS, Biswas CR. Success and failure in medical research. J Sci Soc 2016;43:106-7. [Full text]
Islam A, Biswas T. Health system in Bangladesh: Challenges and opportunities. Am J Health Res 2014;6:366-74.