July 18, 2024, 6:14 pm

icddr,b to develop extreme heat safety training module for RMG workers in Bangladesh

Sarakhon Desk
  • Update Time : Monday, July 1, 2024

04 JUN 2024, Dhaka, Bangladesh-A stakeholder meeting titled “Developing heat mitigation training package to improve ready-made garment (RMG) workers’ health conditions in Bangladesh” was held today at icddr,b, in Dhaka.

Bangladesh, ranked 7th in the Global Climate Risk Index 2020, has a significant number of indoor factory workers, particularly RMG workers, who are more vulnerable to heat stress and related illnesses. In an economy heavily reliant on the RMG sector, capacity development for indoor heat mitigation for these workers remains a persistent concern. To address these issues, icddr,b’s Environmental Health and WASH team, with support from the Climate X Health grant, is evaluating the feasibility of an indoor heat management intervention package for RMG workers.

Based on a pilot study finding, icddr,b has developed a draft comprehensive training module incorporating hydration breaks, appropriate attire, awareness, and an early warning system to mitigate the health risks from extreme heat. Following the training, the management will be encouraged to implement these interventions within their factories. The research team will also evaluate the impact of the training to inform policymakers the insights for future scalability across garment factories in Bangladesh.

Professor Dr Mohammad Robed Amin, Line Director, Non communicable Disease Control Programme (NCDC), Directorate General of Health Service (DGHS) attended the programme as the chief guest, and Bushra Afreen, Chief Heat Officer (CHO) of North Dhaka, was the special guest. The event brought together policymakers, health experts, industry leaders and other stakeholders to contribute to the development of the heat mitigation training package.

Dr Tahmeed Ahmed, Executive Director, icddr,b, delivered the welcome remarks, emphasising the importance of indoor heat mitigation measures for RMG workers. “Heat is not just a matter of feeling discomfort. It impacts productivity and is very much related to health, diseases and biological functions. We can do something impactful to mitigate the extreme heat related health outcomes if we all work together,” he said.

Farzana Yeasmin, Assistant Scientist, icddr,b, highlighted the key features of heat mitigation training module during her presentation on the objective and background of the study. Faculties from Griffith University, Australia, Shannon Rutherford, Fahim Tonmoy and Aaron Bach presented their research findings on heat vulnerability and RMG workers in Bangladesh.

Professor Dr Md. Robed Amin in his remark said, “Beautiful suggestions came up from all the stakeholders, I hope we will be able to incorporate them and will have an excellent material for capacity building in different areas.”

Chief Heat Officer, Bushra Afreen emphasised addressing the issue of hot spots within the factories even during normal heat conditions. She said, “ A combined approach should be taken looking into the RMG workers’ living conditions along with the working conditions for comprehensive capacity building.”

Participants from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Jahangir Nagar University, Bangladesh Meteorological Department, ARK Foundation, Probha Aurora, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), DPM, NCDC, DGHS and icddr,b shared their valuable insights on the level of engagement of the module. They also provided suggestions on refinement of the training package for broader implementation. The session was chaired by Dr Sarah Salway, Senior Director, Health System and Population Studies Division. Dr Fahmida Tofail, Scientist, Nutrition Research Division and Dr Md. Mahbubur Rahman, Project Coordinator at icddr,b, summarised the workshop and the session was moderated by Dr Farjana Jahan, Assistant Scientist, icddr,b. The meeting was also supported by Climate and Health Innovation Hub.

This training program aims to address climate-related challenges in Bangladesh’s industrial sector, promoting both worker health and industry sustainability, demonstrating icddr,b’s commitment to addressing climate-related health challenges.

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