Pakistan has the 4th highest burden of child mortality in the world, with an estimated 500,000 annual child deaths. Infectious diseases are the biggest killers, causing 60% of all deaths under 5 years of age. WHO estimates that neonatal infections (15%), diarrheal illnesses (17%), and pneumonia (21%) cause over 50% of all child deaths in Pakistan. Although the infectious morbidity and mortality is huge, Pakistan has no formal training programs in infectious diseases. Consequently, there is a tremendous shortage of individuals with the requisite skills to conduct independent research in infectious diseases affecting Pakistani children. The Department of Pediatrics at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan has a strong track record in research relevant to improving child survival in developing countries. In collaboration with colleagues at Emory University and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the Department 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 in Karachi and Atlanta with a particular focus on vaccine translational research and neonatal infections. Vaccine science is a key tool to close the health gap between children in rich and poor countries. Vaccine translational research aims to accelerate rational introduction of new vaccines (e.g. against rotavirus diarrhea and pneumococcal pneumonia) in developing countries by assessment of disease burden, vaccine safety and impact studies (trials and demonstration projects), and economic and policy analyses. Reducing neonatal infection rates is also a high priority for Pakistan with tremendous potential for improving neonatal survival rates. Thus building research skills in these two areas has particular relevance for reducing infectious disease-related child mortality in Pakistan. Non-technical Summary: Pakistan has a very high burden of infectious disease-related child deaths. This training program will equip individuals will research skills necessary to reduce the burden of infections in newborn babies and vaccine-preventable childhood 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-ICP2-B (50))
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Sina, Barbara J
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Aga Khan University
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