Despite of facing challenges in academic activities, faculties from different technical universities of Bangladesh are extending their support to fight against the ongoing pandemic for the betterment of the country. Continuing the endeavour ITN-BUET organized an online meeting on May 17, 2020, with academicians from different public universities for learning exchange from Covid-19 crisis experience and explore possible future collaboration for mutual benefits especially in the field of WASH with special focus on FSM and hygiene.
The participants shared current practices and initiatives (during COVID-19 crisis) by their institutes, discussed on areas to work together in future, challenges to achieve the goals and ways to collaborate in future utilizing online platforms for reaching a wider audience. ITN-BUET is working with the government and sector partners through different technical groups to fight this situation. CUET is currently conducting a questionnaire survey on human behaviour and attitude towards hand hygiene as a preventive measure against any infectious disease.
The speakers emphasized that there is an important link between Ciovid-19 pandemic and WASH as they are related to public health. It is now clear that the crisis will not avert overnight, people have to cope with the changed situation for a long time. With new crisis, new challenges are coming ahead. If not managed properly, the huge amount of PPE and medical waste will be a great threat to public health. Participants agree that a common platform for knowledge dissemination will be extremely useful in this situation. ITN-BUET suggested that the website they have created for covid-19 response (https://www.response-to-covid-19.org/) can be a gateway for this initiative.
Participants discussed several areas where they can collaborate like: conducting short term research for fact-finding and policy influence, developing content for capacity building of different stakeholders of WASH, arranging webinar on technical issues related to WASH and COVID-19 and preparing a strong database with what is happening around the world as well as Bangladesh for COVID-19 response.
Faculty members from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Chittagong University of Engineers and Technology, and Khulna University of Engineering and Technology attended the meeting along with ITN-BUET team members. Dr. Mohammad Md. Ashraf Ali, Director, ITN-BUET and professor of BUET moderated the meeting, while former professor of BUET, Dr. Mujibur Rahman chaired the meeting. The meeting ended with the resolution of the participants to work together to fight against Covid-19 crisis.