Mahbub Alam

Mahbub Alam



I hold an MPH degree from the James P Grant School of Public Health, Brac University, Bangladesh in 2013 and a Master of Social Science degree in Anthropology from Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh in 2004. Having spent 13 years working in research and project management at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), I wanted to further develop my research skills and knowledge, and joined the EPSRC Doctoral Training Program at the School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds.

Record of Employment

2021 – present   Associate Scientist, Infectious Disease Division, icddr,b

2021 – present   Editorial Board Member, PLoS Global Public Health

2018 – 2020       Assistant Scientist, Infectious Disease Division, icddr,b

2012 - 2017        Research Investigator, Infectious Disease Division, icddr,b

2008 - 2012        Research Officer, Centre for Communicable Disease (CCD), icddr,b

Aug- Oct 2008    Research Assistant, Brac Development Institute (BDI), Brac University

Mar- Jun 2008   Field Research Assistant, Public Health Science Division, icddr,b


2021      Received Tsuha Fellowship at the University of Western Australia for the period 2022-2025

2019      Selected as Young Scientist by Bangladesh Academy of Sciences, Dhaka, Bangladesh

2018      Certificate of award for contribution to Faith-based research, House of Lords, London, UK

2018      Outstanding contribution in reviewing articles for Public Health in 2018

2016      International Training Programme (ITP-301) in Sustainable Urban Water and Sanitation –Integrated Processes- SUWAS 2016-17, at Stockholm, Sweden and Kampala, Uganda

2015      Travel award for oral presentation at Water and Health Conference, 2015 at the NC, USA

Funding History

2021      Evaluation of the Hygiene and Behavior Change Coalition for COVID-19 prevention in Kenya, Zambia and Indonesia. Amount awarded: $693,708 as Principal Investigator; Donor: LSHTM (PENDA/FCDO)

2021      Urban Sanitation Technologies as International Power Structures (U-STASIS). Amount awarded: $31,183 as Principal Investigator; Donor: Université de Neuchatel (SNIS)

2020      The association between child growth, disease morbidity and antibiotic use among children less than two years of age in Bangladesh: A secondary data analysis. Amount awarded: $170,000 as Co-Investigator; Donor: SIDA

2020      Multi-sector programme planning across food-nutrition, energy and water-sanitation for the Rohingya Crisis at Cox’s Bazar. Amount awarded: $41,269 as Principal Investigator; Donor: Institute of Development Studies

2019      Strategies for achieving sewerage connection in low-income communities in Dhaka. Amount awarded: $189,874 as Principal Investigator; Donor: WSUP

2019      WASH Mapping at Host Communities and Developing WASH Plan for Cox’s Bazar. Amount awarded: $254,743 as Co-Principal Investigator; Donor: unicef

2019      Identifying and overcoming barriers to sustainable school WASH in three Bangladeshi cities. Amount awarded: $89,419 as Co-Investigator; Donor: WSUP

2019      Impact assessment of WASH in school project. Amount awarded: $57,323 as Co-Investigator; Donor: WaterAid Bangladesh

2018      Identification of quality indicators of shared sanitation in urban Dhaka (QUISS). Amount awarded: $55,500 as Principal Investigator; Donor: EAWAG

2018      Assessment of household water treatment among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. Amount awarded: $78,890 as Co-Principal Investigator; Donor: Oxfam

2017      Assessment of fecal exposure pathways in low-income urban communities of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Amount awarded: $54,636 as Co-Investigator; Donor: Emory University

2017      Improve WASH facilities in RMG factories of Bangladesh. Amount awarded: $38,957 as Principal Investigator; Donor: The Waterloo Foundation, UK

2016      Evaluation of a faith-based intervention to improve WASH facilities and practices in the Muslim community of Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, and Indonesia. Amount awarded: $65,080 as Principal Investigator; Donor: Global One 2015

2016      Piloting menstrual hygiene management interventions among schoolgirls of Bangladesh. Amount awarded: $499,994 as Co-Principal Investigator; Donor: BMGF

2014      Using behaviour change messaging to improve shared toilets in Bangladesh. Amount awarded: $170,438 as Co-Investigator; Donor: Stanford University

2012      Bangladesh National Hygiene Survey. Amount awarded: $803,057 as Co-Investigator; Donor: WaterAid Bangladesh

Research interests

My research interest revolves around the emerging public health issues of Bangladesh and other low-and-middle-income countries. I am currently working on water pollution, urban sanitation, hand hygiene, menstrual hygiene, hygiene in the institutional setting, and environmental hygiene.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

2022      Rahman, Mahbubur, Mahbub-Ul Alam, Sharmin K. Luies, Abul Kamal, Sharika Ferdous, Audrie Lin, Fazle Sharior, Rizwana Khan, Ziaur Rahman, Sarker M. Parvez, Nuhu Amin, Rezaul Hasan, Birkneh T. Tadesse, Neelam Taneja, Mohammad A. Islam, and Ayse Ercumen. 2022. "Contamination of Fresh Produce with Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and Associated Risks to Human Health: A Scoping Review" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 1: 360.

2021      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Ferdous S, Ercumen A, Lin A, Kamal A, Luies SK, Sharior F, Khan R, Rahman MZ, Parvez SM, Amin N, Tadesse BT, Moushomi NA, Hasan R, Taneja N, Islam MA, Rahman M. Effective Treatment Strategies for the Removal of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, Antibiotic-Resistance Genes, and Antibiotic Residues in the Effluent From Wastewater Treatment Plants Receiving Municipal, Hospital, and Domestic Wastewater: Protocol for a Systematic Review. JMIR Res Protoc. 2021 Nov 26;10(11):e33365. doi: 10.2196/33365

2021      Mehjabin Tishan Mahfuz, Sultana F, Hunter EC, Jahan F, Akand F, Khan S, Mobashhara M, Rahman M, Alam MU, Unicomb L, Luby SP, & Winch PJ. Teachers’ perspective on implementation of menstrual hygiene management and puberty education in a pilot study in Bangladeshi schools. Global Health Action, 14:1, DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2021.1955492

2020      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Sharior F, Ferdous S, Norman G, Rahman M, Tidwell J B. Strategies to Connect Low-Income Communities with the Proposed Sewerage Network of the Dhaka Sanitation Improvement Project, Bangladesh: A Qualitative Assessment of the Perspectives of Stakeholders. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 7201. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17197201

2020      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Unicomb L, Ahasan S M, Amin N, Biswas D, Ferdous S, Afrin A, Sarker S, Rahman M. Barriers and Enabling Factors for Central and Household Level Water Treatment in a Refugee Setting: A Mixed-Method Study among Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Water 2020, 12, 3149. DOI: 10.3390/w12113149

2020      James TidwellChipungu J, Ross I, Antwi-Agyei P, Alam MUTumwebaze I K, Norman G, Cumming O, Simiyu S. Where Shared Sanitation is the Only Immediate Option: A Research Agenda for Shared Sanitation in Densely Populated Low-Income Urban Settings. AJTMH. Nov 2020. DOI:

2020      Vasco Schelbert, Meili D, Alam MU, Simiyu S, Antwi-Agyei P, Adjei K A, Dwumfour-Asare B, Rahman M, Ferdous S, Sarker S, Günther I, Lüthi C. When is shared sanitation acceptable in low-income urban settlements? A user perspective on shared sanitation quality in Kumasi, Kisumu and Dhaka. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development. washdev2020084.

2020      Abdullah Al Masud, Rousham EK, Islam MA, Alam MU, Rahman M, Mamun AA, Sarker S, Asaduzzaman M, Unicomb L. Drivers of Antibiotic Use in Poultry Production in Bangladesh: Dependencies and Dynamics of a Patron-Client Relationship. Front. Vet. Sci., 28 February 2020.

2020      Yeasmin F, Rahman M, Luby SP, Das JB, Begum F, Saxton RE, Nizame FA, Hwang ST, Alam MU, Hossain MK, Yeasmin D, Unicomb L, Winch PJ. Landlords’ and Compound Managers’ Role in Improving and Sustaining Shared Latrines in Three Dhaka City Slums. Water 2020, 12, 2073.

2020      Khan A, Uddin R, Alam N, Sultana S, Alam MU, Ahmed R. (2019). Psychometric properties of the Bangla version of the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6), Global Psychiatry2(2), 183-194. doi:

2019      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Rahman M, Islam MA, Asaduzzaman M, Sarker S, Rousham E, Unicomb L. Human exposure to antimicrobial resistance from poultry production: assessing hygiene and waste-disposal practices in Bangladesh. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. Sep 2019.

2019      Nuhu Amin, Rahman M, Raj S, Ali S, Green J, Das S, Doza S, Mondol MH, Wang Y, Islam MA, Alam MU, Huda TMN, Haque S, Unicomb L, Joseph G, Moe CL. Quantitative assessment of fecal contamination in multiple environmental sample types in urban communities in Dhaka, Bangladesh using SaniPath microbial approach. PLoS ONE 14(12): e0221193.

2019      Fosiul A. NizameAlam MUMasud AA, Shoab AK, Opel A, Islam MK, Luby SP, Unicomb L. Hygiene in Restaurants and among Street Food Vendors in Bangladesh. AJTMH. July 2019.

2018      Unicomb L, Horng L, Alam MU, Halder A, Shoab A, Ghosh P, Islam K, Opel A, Luby SP. “Health-Care Facility Water, Sanitation, and Health-Care Waste Management Basic Service Levels in Bangladesh: Results from a Nation-Wide Survey”. AJTMH. Aug 2018. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-0133

2017      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Winch PJ, Yeasmin F, Nizame FA, Saxton RE, Norman G, Masud A, Begum F, Rahman M, Unicomb L, Luby SP. “Behaviour change intervention to improve shared toilet maintenance and cleanliness in urban slums of Dhaka: a cluster-randomized controlled trial.” Trop Med Int Health. 2017 May. doi: 10.1111/tmi.12902

2017      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Luby SP, Halder A, Islam K, Opel A, Shoab AK, Ghosh PK, Rahman M, Mahon T, Unicomb L. “Menstrual hygiene management among Bangladeshi adolescent schoolgirls and risk factors affecting school absence: results from a cross-sectional survey.” BMJ Open 2017;7:e015508. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015508

2017      Ronald Saxton, Yeasmin F, Alam MU, Masud A, Dutta NC, Yeasmin D, Luby SP, Unicomb L, Winch PJ. ‘If I do not have enough water, then how could I bring additional water for toilet cleaning?! Addressing water scarcity to promote hygienic use of shared toilets in Dhaka, Bangladesh’. Trop Med Int Health. 2017 Jun 27. doi: 10.1111/tmi.12914

2017      Farzana Yeasmin, Luby SP, Saxton RE, Nizame FA, Alam MU, Dutta NC, Masud AA, Yeasmin D, Layden A, Rahman H, Abbott R, Unicomb L, Winch PJ. Piloting a low-cost hardware intervention to reduce improper disposal of solid waste in communal toilets in low-income settlements in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  BMC Public Health. 2017 Aug 29; 17: 682. doi:  10.1186/s12889-017-4693-x

2016      Sonia Hegde, Sazzad HMS, Hossain MJ, Alam MU, Kenah E, Daszak P, Rollin P, Rahman M, Luby SP, Gurley ES. ‘Investigating rare risk factors for Nipah virus in Bangladesh: 2001 to 2012.’ EcoHealth (2016) 13: 720. doi: 10.1007/s10393-016-1166-0

2016      Lily Horng, Unicomb L, Alam MU, Halder A, Shoab AK, Ghosh PK, Opel A, Islam K, Luby SP. ‘Healthcare worker and family caregiver hand hygiene in Bangladeshi healthcare facilities: results from the Bangladesh National Hygiene Baseline Survey.’ J Hosp Infect. 2016 Nov; 94(3):286-294. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2016.08.016

2016      Wit Wichaidit, Alam MU, Halder AK, Unicomb L, Hamer DH, Ram PK. ‘Availability and Quality of Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care in Bangladesh.’ AJTMH. Published online June 6, 2016, doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.15-0350

2016      Shahana Parveen, Islam MS, Begum M, Alam MU, Sazzad S, Gurley ES, Sultana R, Rahman M, Hossain MJ, Luby SP. ‘Its not what you say, its how you say it: Communicating Nipah virus prevention messages during an outbreak in Bangladesh.’ BMC Public Health. 2016.  16:726, DOI:

2013      Emily Gurley, Islam MS, Nahar N, Sultana R, Hossain MJ, Homaira N, Parveen S, Naushin T, Alam MU, Khan AKMD, Chowdhury NMRA, Southern D, Luby SP. ‘Behaviour change intervention to reduce caregivers’ exposure to patients’ oral and nasal secretions in Bangladesh.’ International Journal of Infection Control 2013; 9(2):1-9.

Working papers and Reports

2021      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Ahmed T. “Health and Safety of Waste and Sanitation Workers during the Pandemic: A Case Study in Selected Cities of Bangladesh”. ITN Research Series 15. ITN BUET.

2020      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Rahman M et al., “WASH Mapping at Host Communities and Participatory WASH Plan for Cox’s Bazar District.” Final Report, icddr,b, January, 2020.'s_Bazar_District_WASH_Mapping_and_Participatory_WASH_Plan

2019      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Afrin A, Sarker S, Rahman M. “Improve water, sanitation and hygiene situation in readymade garments factories in Bangladesh”. Final Report, icddr,b, May 2019.

2018      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Rahman M et al., “A Formative Study on Household Water Treatment among Rohingya Refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.” Final Report, icddr,b November 2018.

2018      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Afrin A, Sarker S. “Evaluation of Faith Based Behaviour Change Intervention to Improve WASH Facilities and Practices in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal.” Working paper, icddr,b, August 2018

2015      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Yeasmin F, Begum F, Rahman M, Unicomb L, Winch P, Luby SP. Report on Using behavior change messaging to improve shared toilets in Dhaka, Bangladesh 2015

2014      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Unicomb L, Luby SP, Halder AK, Ram PK. "Bangladesh National Hygiene Baseline Survey: Preliminary Report." icddr,b, WaterAid Bangladesh, PSU, GoB. Dhaka, 2014.

Policy briefs

2020      Mahbub-Ul Alam, Sharika Ferdous, Christoph Lüthi, Vasco Schelbert, Dario Meili. Shared Sanitation in Low-income Urban Settlements in Bangladesh: Research Results and Policy Recommendations. Policy brief from QUISS study.

Invited lectures or Keynotes

2020      1st Virtual National Celebration of the World Toilet Day (WTD) on November 27, 2020; delivered technical presentation on “Research on approaches for sewering low-income communities in Dhaka”, arranged by the Department of Health (DOH), unicef and WHO in the Philippines

2018      Invited speaker to present Faith-based WASH behaviour change study at House of Lords, London, UK, 21-27 Jun.

2015      Bringing home the SDGs: Bangladesh has successfully implemented the MDGs and lessons for the SDGs; side event at the UNC Water and Health Conference, arranged by WaterAid

2015      National Seminar on Menstrual Hygiene Management Situation and Future Action, organized by Bangladesh WASH Alliance and Partners

Conference papers and presentations

2020      American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 69th Annual Meeting, Nov 15-19, 2020

2019      4th Young Scientist Congress, 13-15 December at Dhaka, by Bangladesh Academy of Sciences

2018      Water and Health Conference at the University of North Carolina, NC, USA. 29 Oct-2 Nov.

2018      WASH Future Conference at Brisbane, Australia. 5-9 March.

2018      Theology and Religion workshop at University of Birmingham, UK, 21-27 Jun.

2017      WEDC International Conference, Loughborough University, UK. 22 - 28 July.

2016      Water and Health Conference at the University of North Carolina, NC, USA. 10-14 Oct.

2016      SACOSAN VI conference, 11-13 Jan 2016, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

2015      Water and Health Conference at the University of North Carolina, NC, USA. 26-30 Oct.

2014      Water and Health Conference at the University of North Carolina, NC, USA. 13-17 Oct.

Teaching and Mentoring

2020      Guest Faculty at American International University Bangladesh

2020      Mentor at AuthorAid

2016      Mentored 16 Intern students and two Research Fellow from 2016

2019      Grant and proposal writing short course for icddr,b staff

2019      Grant and proposal writing short course for American International University students

2018      National Hygiene Survey data collection training for Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics

Professional memberships

2020      American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

2018      Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)

2017      Gender and Water Alliance (GWA)

2016      Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)

2015      One Health Bangladesh (Lifetime member)

2014      Women & Girls at the Center of Development (WGCD) network


  • MPH
  • MSS in Anthropology
  • BSS in Anthropology