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Public Health Travels in South Asia


Public Health Travels in South Asia



Bloomberg School Health Advisory Board (HAB) members, a Thai princess, Dean Michael J. Klag and other School representatives traveled in Bangladesh and India for 10 days in February, giving them a clear picture of the School’s global reach and influence. They visited research projects and met with scientific partners and public health leaders in both countries.

The group first traveled to Bangladesh’s rural Gaibandha region to visit the School’s decade-old JiVitA Project, one of the world’s largest trials on the role of nutrition in maternal and infant survival. In 2007, JiVitA scientists determined that a single two-cent dose of vitamin A at birth has the potential to reduce six-month infant mortality by at least 15 percent.

JiVitA project director Keith P. West Jr., DrPH ’87, MPH ’79, RD, the George G. Graham Professor in Infant and Child Nutrition, led the group on a tour of the research facilities. The group, along with Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn from Thailand, a member of the School’s International Honorary Committee, met with some of the mothers and children taking part in JiVitA studies.
JiVitA researchers Parul Christian, DrPH ’96, MSc, MPH ’92, Rolf Klemm, DrPH ’02, MPH ’85, and Alain Labrique, PhD ’07, MS, MHS ’99, also discussed their work with HAB members.

In the capital city of Dhaka, the group visited the ICDDR,B (Inter-national Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh), where they met with the Center’s leaders and staff and top officials at the Ministry of Health  and Family Welfare. They also met Bangladesh’s foreign minister and School alumna, Dipu Moni, MBBS, LLB, LLM, MPH ’99. 

In India, the group made stops in Delhi and Jaipur, visiting the Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR)—the country’s premier institute of its kind—which focuses on improving public health and health care systems management through research, training and consultation. Their host was School alumnus and HAB member Dr. Ashok Agarwal, MPH ’83, an IIHMR founder and trustee. Representatives from the School’s Center for Communication Programs (CCP) briefed the group on its India-based work, which includes managing projects addressing HIV/AIDS, family planning and reproductive health, and water and health.

“I was happy that the HAB was able to share this experience and witness firsthand the impact of our work in Bangladesh and India,” says Dean Klag.                                                                  

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