Sunday, 3 July 2016

Get to know PhD Candidate Rakibul Islam

Rakibul Islam is a PhD Candidate from Bangladesh with the Women’s Health Research Program at SPHPM. He has recently submitted his PhD thesis for examination, entitled ‘Examining Neglected Health Problems in Women at Mid-Life in Bangladesh’. Before travelling to Australia to pursue his PhD, he taught and researched in universities in Bangladesh for more than four years before moving to Norway where he obtained his Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Master of Public Health (MPH).

Rakibul’s PhD at SPHPM is bolstered by an extensive social science background, with both graduate and undergraduate training in sociology as well as an MPhil in Indigenous Studies. His thesis focused on determining the awareness of, and barriers to, cervical cancer and breast cancer screening, the prevalence and severity of menopausal symptoms, and prevalence of pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) in Bangladeshi women.

“The study showed that the screening uptake of cervical cancer and breast cancer screening is low, and that a lack of understanding of the role of screening is the key barrier to screening uptake in Bangladesh,” said Rakibul Islam.

A considerable proportion of women suffer from PFDs and bothersome menopausal symptoms in Bangladesh. With continued ageing of the population in Bangladesh he says that the health issues of women at mid-life need to be given a higher priority.

Rakibul has published several papers in peer reviewed journals during his time at SPHPM. One of his articles, entitled, ‘Lack of understanding of cervical cancer and screening is the leading barrier to screening uptake in women at mid-life in Bangladesh: population-based cross-sectional survey’ was published in The Oncologist and has been selected for Continuing Medical Education (CME) accreditation. Co-authors on the paper included Professor Susan Davis, Professor Robin Bell and Senior Lecturer Baki Billah.

He recently had another article on the prevalence and severity of vasomotor symptoms and joint pain in women at midlife in Bangladesh published in Menopause with an accompanying editorial.

Rakibul is currently also involved in teaching at SPHPM and is writing a number of review papers as a postgraduate publication awardee. The first project reviews published literature to document current knowledge of the prevalence of menopausal symptoms and to understand the reasons for variation of prevalence of reported menopausal symptoms amongst women in Asia. The second project identifies the key barriers to cervical cancer and breast cancer screening uptake in low-and-middle income countries.

After completing his PhD, Rakibul hopes to continue to be involved in research in women’s health issues; particularly issues beyond women’s reproductive health.

“With a growing ageing population in low-and-middle income countries, I believe this area of research needs greater attention to improve the quality of life of women,” he said.

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