London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine appoints Takeda Chair in Global Child Health

Professor Debra Jackson has been appointed as the first holder of the ‘Takeda Chair in Global Child Health’ at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).
Debra Jackson

The Chair was established following a generous donation from Takeda Pharmaceutical Company and officially launched at the Japanese Embassy in London in May 2019.

A world-leader in her field, Professor Jackson specialises in maternal and child health. She joins LSHTM from UNICEF, where she served as Senior Health Advisor and Unit Chief.

Professor Jackson brings a broad range of expertise to LSHTM, also specialising in nutrition, ethics and health systems research. Her recent research has focused on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, infant feeding, civil registration and vital statistics, newborn health in emergencies and community health workers. 

Professor Debra Jackson, incoming Takeda Professor of Global Child Health, said:

“I am honoured to be appointed as the first Takeda Chair in Global Child Health at LSHTM. The institution impressed me with its longstanding history of innovation and its mission to improve health for all. I look forward to working with colleagues across LSHTM and the MARCH Centre to end preventable deaths of newborns and children. With the COVID-19 outbreak, it is more important than ever that we work collaboratively with governments and policymakers around the globe to give every child the best chance of survival and opportunity for healthy growth and development.”

More than five million children under the age of five die each year; half of these die during the neonatal period (from birth to one month old), with the second largest number being a result of childhood infections such as pneumonia and diarrhoea.

As Takeda Chair in Global Child Health, Professor Jackson will further boost LSHTM’s reputation as a leader in maternal and child health, helping to reduce deaths in low and middle-income countries.

LSHTM Director, Professor Peter Piot, said:

“We look forward to welcoming Debra Jackson to LSHTM as the first Takeda Chair in Global Child Health. Takeda’s support in establishing this prestigious professorial position will advance the evidence base for child survival and health around the world and will enable critical research innovations to help inform policy development, healthcare implementation and improve the health outcomes of children globally.”

Takako Ohyabu, Chief Global Corporate Affairs Officer at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company said:

 “We are very pleased that Professor Debra Jackson will hold the inaugural Takeda Chair in Global Child Health. Advancing the evidence base for what works to ensure child survival and health around the world and inform better policies and healthcare practices has never been more important. We are honoured to support this critical work.”

Professor Jackson’s appointment comes at a crucial time, with the World Health Organization estimating that the COVID-19 pandemic will severely exacerbate the daily battle to survive for many, both as a direct and indirect result of the pandemic.

There is fear that thousands of families will face increasing healthcare challenges, heightened as a result of COVID-19 destabilising already fragile health systems in low-resource settings and delaying much-needed vaccine programmes.

Professor Jackson will work cross-disciplinarily with colleagues to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3, working to ensure all mothers and newborns have the best chance to survive and thrive.

Professor Jackson will become a leading figure in LSHTM’s Centre for Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive and Child Health, one of the world’s largest groups of researchers working throughout the lifecycle of women and children, bringing together over 200 people working across multiple disciplines.

Professor Joy Lawn, Director of the Centre for Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive and Child Health, said:

“We are delighted that Debra Jackson will join the LSHTM community. The unique perspective and experience she brings will be an incredibly valuable addition to our research in infant and child health. She will also strengthen LSHTM’s position as a global leader in health and health equity.”





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