A number of fecal sludge treatment systems have been established across the country that require the monitoring of the treated fecal sludge (liquid and solid) to comply with the Government standards for disposal. International Training Network of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (ITN-BUET) conducted a four-day laboratory training for determining pathogenic parameters from fecal sludge and wastewater to support the Country’s initiative in achieving the SDG 6. The laboratory training took place from 10-13 July 2023 was inaugurated by Prof. Dr. Abu Siddique, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, BUET on 10 July.

Director of ITN-BUET Prof. Dr. Tanvir Ahmed said, “the training will equip participants with the latest knowledge and skills, contributing to improved fecal sludge management practices, public health, and environmental sustainability in Bangladesh. We also hope that scaling up this package will significantly enhance the capacity of lab personnel’s in Bangladesh.”

A total of 19 participants from 11 laboratories across the country attended the specialized training program. These participants included laboratory personnel from six engineering universities, Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE), Dhaka WASA, Chattogram WASA, Bangladesh Standard Testing Institute (BSTI) and NGO Forum for Public Health.

The hands-on practical sessions were demonstrated at the Reference Fecal Sludge Testing Laboratory at the Level-4 of Dr. Jamilur Reza Chowdhury Civil Engineering Building of BUET. Experts and technicians from BUET facilitated the training utilizing advanced laboratory equipment of the Reference Fecal Sludge Testing Laboratory. The training included preparation of fecal sludge sample and determination of pathogenic parameters such as fecal coliforms (FC), Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella, and helminths eggs, as well as heavy metal. These pathogens have significant health impacts as they contain huge amounts of fecal sludge and wastewater. Additionally, the training covered laboratory safety aspects to ensure a safe working environment.

On 13 July, Prof. Dr. Md. Habibur Rahman, Honorable Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University of Engineering and Technology (DUET) and Professor of the Civil Engineering Department of BUET distributed certificates among the participants as the Chief Guest. Co-Chair of the CWIS FSM Support Cell of DPHE Mr. Md. Shafiqul Hassan was present as the Special Guest.

The participants’ feedback and evaluation reveal that the training has elevated the knowledge level of the participants though many of the training contents were new to them. It is a follow up training from the first lab training which mostly focused on inorganic and organic chemical parameters. These two trainings were the parts of first comprehensive training package on fecal sludge parameters taken place in Bangladesh.

ITN-BUET has been providing specialized training since 2022 to address the need for skilled professionals in pathogen analysis. All the participants praised the training program and suggested to include field visits to fecal sludge treatment plant in future training.

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