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UNC-Chapel Hill Doctoral Student Karar Zunaid Ahsan to Visit Malawi as Policy Communication Fellow

April 24, 2019
Gillings School of Global Public Health



This June, doctoral student Karar Zunaid Ahsan will visit Lilongwe, Malawi, to kick off a year of service as a Policy Communication Fellow. Implemented by the Population Reference Bureau and the African Institute for Development Policy, the fellowship focuses on effectively communicating research findings to influence policy development on a global scale.

Ahsan, who studies maternal and child health in the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, will build on a wealth of previous international experience. Originally from Bangladesh, he has conducted monitoring, evaluation and research in the health sector for more than 12 years. Most recently, he worked at Carolina’s MEASURE Evaluation, where he was a senior research associate and served as the monitoring and evaluation adviser to the Program Management and Monitoring Unit of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in Bangladesh.

During his time at the Summer Institute in Lilongwe, Ahsan will connect with local research and advocacy experts and learn, firsthand, relevant advocacy priorities and policy landscapes. He will meet guest speakers as they address topics related to health and population policy issues, and he will present his own dissertation research in terms of its relevance to policy audiences.

“My doctoral study involves assessing the inequity in utilization of maternal health services in Bangladesh,” Ahsan said. “For years, Bangladesh has been considered an example for improving health by increasing coverage of essential health services in a resource-constrained setting. Using nationally representative data, I demonstrate that the increase in coverage of maternal health services hasn’t been equitable, and the gap in service utilization between the poorest and the richest population groups has increased during the past decade. As part of my dissertation, I aim to isolate the determinants of maternal health inequity and present policy recommendations to progress towards the goal of universal health coverage.”

Last year, as a first-year doctoral student, Ahsan shared his take on health inequities and implementation science in an interview with the Gillings School.

“This is a very competitive program,” said Gustavo Angeles, an associate professor of maternal and child health at the Gillings School and Ahsan’s adviser. “It is great that Zunaid was selected for this opportunity.”


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