Professor Andrew Smith
BSc MSc MB BS MRCP DCH DObstRCOG
My main interest is to study, promote and teach the epidemiology, prevention, control and rehabilitation of deafness and hearing impairment in less developed parts of the world.
I am a member of the International Centre for Evidence in Disability (ICED), part of the Disability Group at LSHTM.
I have been principal investigator or provided technical advice in surveys and intervention studies on hearing impairment in various low and middle-income countries around the world.
Before joining LSHTM in 2008, I was responsible for the programme for Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Impairment at the World Health Organization (WHO) Geneva, Switzerland from 1996. I continue to support WHO activities in this field.
Prior to WHO, I was head of the Hearing Impairment Research Group at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK. Before that, I worked for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Pakistan amongst Afghan refugees, and the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) in The Gambia. I originally trained as a paediatrician in the UK, Canada and South Africa, and subsequently developed my interests in international public health.
I promote and teach the public health approach for ear and hearing health, through devising, coordinating and teaching a 5 day course called Public Health Planning for Hearing Impairment.
The course is in process of developing a cadre of professionals who will use and spread this approach in low and middle-income coutries, and in disadvantaged communities in high-income countries.
Assistant Professor Daksha Patel and I created this course which started in London in 2009.
Since 2009 to the end of 2018, 1110 health workers from 44 countries have been taught in 37 courses in 12 centres, 9 of which are in low and middle-income (LMI) countries. The majority of participants come from LMI countries.
The centres, in order of start date, are London, Hyderabad, Cape Town, Nairobi, Lima (in Spanish), Vancouver, Ouagadougou (in French), Islamabad, Harare, Manila, Lusaka, Sydney.
In 2018 the course is being run in 6 LMI countries: Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia Philippines, India, Pakistan and and in 1 high-income country: Australia.
My research is focused on measuring the prevalence, causes and impact of deafness and hearing impairment in low and middle income countries. I have also conducted studies of interventions against ear and hearing disorders in these countries using innovative methods. The aim of this research is to determine appropriate and cost-effective solutions for hearing health in underserved areas of the world. I am planning to conduct rsearch on the effectiveness and impact of teaching the course on Public Health Planning for Hearing Impairment, and the updated WHO Training Resource on Primary Ear and Hearing Care.