The story of Child Health Research Foundation (CHRF) started in the 1980s, with one microbiologist in the corridor of Dhaka Shishu Hospital (now renamed to Bangladesh Shishu Hospital & Institute, BSHI) noticing the unacceptably high number of deaths in children under the age of 5 years (<5) in Bangladesh.
Despite pediatric infections being one of the main causes of death and disability in the country, there was a vicious cycle at play - of limited resources resulting in little- to-no data on disease burden. The determined microbiologist, Professor Samir K Saha, aimed to change this by bringing together a multidisciplinary team with the expertise to create a virtuous cycle; by ensuring the most optimal and rational use of available resources leading to the generation of evidence. Thus, CHRF was formally established in 2007, with the motto, ‘prevent infections, save lives.’
Today, CHRF has a multidisciplinary team of next-generation scientists that includes clinicians, microbiologists, community health workers, technologists, and data scientists. With a network of five laboratories around Bangladesh in both urban and rural hospitals, CHRF provides low-cost diagnostic services for patients and shares the clinical data with the hospital physicians in real time to improve patient care. Our network of four hospitals, and five laboratories in both rural and urban areas of Bangladesh is part of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Invasive Bacterial Vaccine-Preventable Disease Surveillance Network.
The mission of Child Health Research Foundation is to improve child health in Bangladesh and around the world by facilitating appropriate policy decisions through research and advocacy.
Child Health Research Foundation (CHRF) is non-profit, non-Government organization registered under the Society Registration Act 1860, vide registration number S-7289(478) at 2007. Child Health Research Foundation is also registered under the Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulations Act 2016 vide registration number 3183 on 26 December 2018 from the NGO Affairs Bureau.
A small microbiology laboratory in the “corridor” of Dhaka Shishu Hospital teamed up with a group of bold and driven clinical colleagues
We started generating evidence on Hib and pneumococcal diseases in Bangladesh
Keeping our umbilical connection intact with Dhaka Shishu Hospital, we founded Child Health Research Foundation (CHRF) to focus on research in addition to serving the patients.
Our research helped to facilitate Hib vaccine in Bangladesh. Additionally, we started one of the largest studies (ANISA) in South Asia on childhood infections in the following year.
Surveillance data from our research was used to facilitate decision-making regarding selection of the most appropriate pneumococcal vaccines (PCV10), which encouraged other countries in the South Asia
We got our first sequencer and started sequencing common pathogens in Bangladesh
We were the first to sequence the genome of SARS-CoV-2 in Bangladesh, and the first non-government lab to start COVID19 testing.
We received our biggest sequencer - NextSeq2000! We are building a Pediatric Disease Observatory for Bangladesh by detecting pathogens causing "mysterious" diseases in children.