Written by Sarah Curran, Programme Manager at LSHTM
Dr Ajay Chandrakar, the Minister of Health from the State of Chhattisgarh, India visited the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine on June 5 2017, meeting with Professor Peter Piot, leading researchers and senior staff at the School.
Professor Peter Piot and Professor Sanjay Kinra welcomed the delegation from Chhattisgarh, which included the Principal Secretary of Health, Subrat Sahoo; the Health Director, R Prasaana; the Chief Secretary, M K Rau, and UNICEF Health Specialist and MSc in Public Health alumnus (2015), Dr Ajay Trakroo.
Chhattisgarh is one of the newly formed states of the Indian Union, carved out from Madhya Pradesh in the year 2000. It is the sixteenth most populous state in the country with a population of 25.5 million and it is home to 2.1 percent of India’s total population.
The delegation met with LSHTM’s Sian Clarke, Senior Lecturer in Malaria Research and Control, along with other staff from the School, including Lucinda Parr (School Secretary), Lewis McKinnon (University of London), Jo Borghi (Senior Lecturer, Global Health and Development), Suneetha Kadiyala (Associate Professor in Nutrition-Sensitive Development) and Graham Clark (Professor in Molecular Parasitology).
The Minister described some of the most pressing health challenges facing the State, which include high levels of infant and maternal mortality in some regions (although sizable reductions have been achieved in recent years), as well high rates of malaria incidence. The control and elimination of malaria are now top priorities for the administration.
Peter Piot commented; “We were very honoured to host the Minister and his delegation here. Our School has been working with numerous partners across India for many years but we have not yet worked in the State Chhattisgarh. We look forward to continuing the discussions with the Minister and his team to explore mutual areas of interest across training, education and research that address the central health challenges in the State”.
Potential areas for future collaboration include joint research into why such high levels of malaria exists in Chhattisgarh, as well as extending the School’s education and teaching resources to target government staff and health professionals in Chhattisgarh.