Infectious diseases are the biggest killers of children in Pakistan, causing 60% of all child deaths under 5 years of age. Neonatal infections (15%), diarrheal illnesses (18%), and pneumonia (21%) cause over 50% of all child deaths in Pakistan (WHO). Pakistan also harbors the highest numbers of poliomyelitis cases in the world, threatening global eradication goals. Although the infectious morbidity and mortality is huge, until this Fogarty-supported program was established in 2007, Pakistan had no formal training programs in infectious diseases, and a tremendous shortage of individuals with the requisite skills to conduct independent research in infectious diseases affecting Pakistani children. The Department of Pediatrics and Child Health at the Aga Khan University in Karachi has a well-established research program relevant to improving child health and survival in developing countries. In collaboration with colleagues at Emory and CDC in Atlanta, AKU can offer unique training opportunities in infectious diseases to Pakistani trainees. The long-term aim is to prepare a cadre of individuals who will provide the evidence, leadership, and enthusiasm needed to reduce the burden of childhood infections of major public health importance in Pakistan and other developing countries. The Infectious Diseases and Child Health in Pakistan (IDCHIP) Research Training Program will provide opportunities for structured long- and short-term training (degree and non-degree course work and mentored research) with particular focus on (i) vaccine-preventable illnesses and, (ii) neonatal infections. Building research skills in thee two areas has particular relevance for infectious disease control and reducing infectious disease-related child mortality in Pakistan. Research training areas will include: polio eradication, sustainable introduction of new vaccines against diarrhea (rotavirus vaccine) and pneumonia (pneumococcal vaccines), measles elimination, optimizing immunization programs; and epidemiology, pathogenesis, and treatment of neonatal infections. Long-term graduate training will be conducted in Pakistan, with short-term training options at Emory and CDC utilized for advanced skills development. A larger group of trainees from Pakistan will also benefit from specialized training in research methodology and research management. Non-technical Summary: Pakistan has a very high burden of infectious disease-related child deaths as well as crippling diseases such as polio. This training program will equip individuals will research skills necessary to reduce the burden of infections in newborn babies and vaccine- preventable childhood illnesses.

Public Health Relevance

Pakistan has a very high burden of infectious disease-related child deaths as well as crippling diseases such as polio. This training program will equip individuals will research skills necessary to reduce the burden of infections in newborns and vaccine- preventable illnesses in Pakistan.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
International Research Training Grants (D43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IDM-U (56)R)
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Sina, Barbara J
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Aga Khan University
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