Profile Photo

Bachera Aktar

Deputy Director

Centre of Excellence for Gender, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (CGSRHR)

Short Biography

Bachera Aktar has 13+ years of experience (including 10+ years in leadership positions) in designing and implementing medium- to large-scale community-based public health projects and research in urban and rural areas on diverse public health areas, including sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health and nutrition, urban health systems, and health services in humanitarian settings. In addition, she teaches in the Masters of Public Health program at the BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, for the last eight years, including five years of supervising students’ MPH theses. She is experienced in designing and conducting participatory action research, qualitative research, and household surveys in informal settlements and fragile settings such as urban slums and refugee camps. In addition to publishing journal articles, she is also experienced in producing and disseminating communication materials based on research findings, such as research briefs, infographics, fact sheets, posters, booklets, project briefs, blogs, newspaper articles, etc. Her research expertise includes reproductive and sexual health, maternal, child, and adolescent health, health systems and management, mixed-method research, participatory research methods, implementation research, monitoring and evaluation, healthcare services in humanitarian crisis settings, community-centric health intervention design, gender and intersectional analysis, and social determinants of health.

Module(s) taught (in MPH)

  • MPH 501: Introduction to Public Health
  • MPH 530: Health Systems Management
  • MPH 660: Gender
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Current Projects

1. Project: ARISE Hub
Donor: Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), UKRI
Role: Co-Principle Investigator (Bangladesh hub)

2. Project: Exploring the feasibility of collecting a core set of indicators for monitoring and evaluating sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) services and outcomes in humanitarian settings
Donor: WHO
Role: Co-Principle Investigator (Bangladesh)

3. Project: Digital Sister for Urban Youth: Using New Technology for Effective Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Communication for Urban Youth (15-24 years) of Bangladesh
Role: Research Coordinator 

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

1.	Hossain MR, Parray AA, Sultana R, Aktar B, Rashid SF (2023). Exploring healthcare-seeking behavior of most vulnerable groups amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the humanitarian context in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh: Findings from an exploratory qualitative study. PLOS Glob Public Health 3(3): e0000382. “

2.	Barua P, Kibuchi E, Aktar B, Chowdhury SF, Mithu IH, Quayyum Z, et al. (2023) The effects of social determinants on children’s health outcomes in Bangladesh slums through an intersectionality lens: An application of multilevel analysis of individual heterogeneity and discriminatory accuracy (MAIHDA). PLOS Glob Public Health 3(3): e0001588.

3.	Nasar S., Raz S, Parray AA, Hossain MR, Sultana R, Nadim ASM, Jabbar A, Aktar B, Rashid SF, Rahman MS. (2022) An assessment of gender vulnerability in the humanitarian crisis in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh: Developing a gender-based vulnerability index in the Rohingya and Host community contexts. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction; 81: 103246; Elsevier. ISSN 2212-4209, 

4.	Aktar, B., Rajendra, K.L., Clark, E. et al. (2022). Feasibility of establishing a core set of sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health indicators in humanitarian settings: results from a multi-methods assessment in Bangladesh. BMC Reproductive Health (2022) 19:121. 

5.	Egid BR, Roura M, Aktar B, et al. (2022). ‘You want to deal with power while riding on power’: global perspectives on power in participatory health research and co-production approaches. BMJ Global Health (2021); 6:e006978. doi:10.1136/bmjgh-2021-006978.

6. Aktar B, Alam W, Ali S, et al. (2020). How to prevent and address safeguarding concerns in global health research programmes: practice, process and positionality in marginalised spaces. BMJ Global Health 2020;5:e002253. doi:10.1136/ bmjgh-2019-002253.

7.	Ahmed, R., Aktar, B., Farnaz, N. et al. (2020). Challenges and strategies in conducting sexual and reproductive health research among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Conflict and Health. (2020); 14:83. 

8.	Aktar B, Ahmed R, Hassan R. et al. (2020). Ethics and Methods for Collecting Sensitive Data: Examining Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of and Services for Rohingya Refugees at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. International Journal of Information, Diversity and Inclusion on its special issue ‘Forced Migration: Making a Sense of a Complex Ecosystem’. Vol 4, No 2 (2020). DOI: 10.33137/ijidi.v4i2.33150. 

9.	Nguyen PH, Kim SS, Sanghvi T, Mahmud Z, Tran LM, Shabnam S, Aktar B, Haque R, Afsana K, Frongillo E, Ruel MT, Menon P. (2017). “Integrating Nutrition Interventions into an Existing Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health Program Increased Maternal Dietary Diversity, Micronutrient Intake, and Exclusive Breastfeeding Practices in Bangladesh: Results of a Cluster-Randomized Program Evaluation”. The Journal of Nutrition (2017). Volume 147, Issue 12. Pages 2326-2337. 

10.	Nguyen PH, Sanghvi T, Kim SS, Tran LM, Afsana K, Mahmud Z, et al. (2017). Factors influencing maternal nutrition practices in a large scale Maternal, Newborn and Child Health program in Bangladesh. PLoS ONE (2017). Volume 12, Issue 7: e0179873. 

Other Publications

1.	Book Chapter: “Scarcity and resilience in the slums of Dhaka city, Bangladesh”. (2021). Part III: Unequal Burden. Viral Loads: Anthropologies of urgency in the time of COVID-19. Page 281-299. UCL Press.  
2.	Research Report: “Impact of COVID-19 Lived Experiences of the Urban Poor in Slums during the Shutdown”. (2020) BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University. 
3.	Book chapter “Chapter 5: Reproductive Health Care in Rohingya Refugee Camps”. Bangladesh Health Watch 2018-19: Humanitarian Crisis in Rohingya Camps - A Health Perspective. February 2020. Page 53-68. 
4.	Policy Brief:  “Digital Sister for Urban Youth Project: Access to SRHR Information and Services for Young People in Bangladesh”. (2019). NOW-WOTRO, The Netherlands.
5.	Newsletter: “Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Initiatives: A community-based Intervention to Reduce Maternal Mortality in Rural Bangladesh.” WHO Newsletter named “Health in South-East Asia”, September 2011. A SEARO Newsletter. RC Edition. Vol 4, No 2, page 16-18.


•	2023 The Lancet-CUGH Best Student Poster Competition Award on Politics, Governance, Diplomacy, Law, Corruption, Human Rights, Public Institution Strengthening Track at the 14th Annual CUGH Conference 2023.
•	Emerging Voices for Global Health (EV4GH) 2022 from Bangladesh. An international capacity building and networking fellowship for promising young health systems researchers and practitioners. 
•	One of the 1st authored papers titled “Ethics and Methods for Collecting Sensitive Data: Examining Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of and Services for Rohingya Refugees at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh”, published in the International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion (IJIDI), Spring 2020 issue (volume 4, number 2), received the "Outstanding Paper Award" for the year of 2020.
•	Awarded with ‘BRAC Values Award 2016’ in recognition of exemplary achievement in demonstrating high managerial competencies in my career at BRAC, the largest NGO based in Bangladesh.

Research Interests

Reproductive and sexual health maternal child and adolescent health; health systems management and policy; mixed-method research; participatory action research; community-based participatory research methods; implementation research; monitoring and evaluation of health interventions; healthcare services in humanitarian crisis settings; community-centric health intervention design; gender and intersectional analysis; and social-political determinants of health.


  • PhD (Candidate
  • Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  • UK)
  • MPH (BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health
  • BRAC University)
  • M.Sc. in Food and Nutrition (University of Dhaka)
  • B.Sc. in Food and Nutrition Science (University of Dhaka)