Professor Lars Åke Persson
of Public Health Evaluation
The Dagu team
Ethiopian Public, Health Institute,
Paediatrician and epidemiologist with a focus on global child health. Earlier Director, Public Health Sciences Division, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, and Professor of International Child Health at Uppsala University. From 2016 Professor of Public Health Evaluation at LSH&TM and posted at Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa. My research focuses (1) community-based interventions for child health and survival, (2) prenatal nutrition interventions and short- and long-term effects, and (3) social conditions in family and society and effects on child health.
The Dagu project in Ethiopia includes implementation research and research capability strengthening. A large intervention that aims at improved utilisation of primary child health services will be evaluated. In this effort, the Federal Ministry of Health, regional health bureaus, four Ethiopian Universities, the Ethiopian Public Health Institute and LSH&TM collaborate. The project includes training of 10 PhD students. In the MINIMat trial (Maternal and Infant Nutrition Interventions in Matlab) in Bangladesh, pregnant women were randomised to different food- and micronutrient alternatives. We have documented effects on infant survival, child growth and metabolic markers at five years. The cohort is being followed up, currently around puberty. This cohort has generated around 100 scientific publications and 18 PhD theses. In the NeoKIP trial in Quang Ninh province in Vietnam local stakeholder groups were engaged in problem-solving cycles that halved neonatal mortality in the intervention areas. Studies of social differentials in child health in Nicaragua, Vietnam, and Rwanda have demonstrated unfair gaps in health and survival but also shown that wise health politics and interventions might close these gaps. Studies of gender-based violence against women have contributed to improved laws to protect women in Nicaragua and Bangladesh. We have also shown that gender-based violence against women also markedly increases the risk of childhood diseases, impaired growth, and mortality in childhood.