Kaosar Afsana

Professor Kaosar Afsana has experience of over 30 years in public health involved in research, implementation, management and policy-influencing at local and global arenas. Her background is quite broad as she was involved in research and evaluation in her early years at BRAC (ranked largest NGO in the World), mostly in monitoring and evaluation of Women’s Health and Development, Reproductive Health and Primary Health Care. Subsequently, she joined in BRAC Health, Nutrition and Population Programme (HNPP) as a senior manager to coordinate and implement National Nutrition Programme led by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Bangladesh Government and supported by the World Bank. She conceived, designed, implemented and managed two successful, large and complex interventions on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) in urban slums and rural districts with a budget of USD 73 million for five years funded by Gates Foundation, and the British, Australian and Dutch Governments. Prof Afsana later became the Director leading BRAC HNPP with an annual budget of USD 30-40 million till her tenure completed in 2018. She not only contributed to development interventions but also to humanitarian crisis while Rohingyas arrived in Bangladesh in Aug 2017. During her journey at BRAC, she was very much involved in advocacy and policy-influencing in MNCH and nutrition through the PMNCH and the SUN Movement at global space and in Bangladesh. Despite her affiliation with BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University from its inception, Prof Afsana formally joined at the School in Feb 2019 and has been given the responsibility of leading research and advocacy in crisis and conflict areas as a Head of Humanitarian Hub at JPGSPH. She has expertise in designing and conducting public health and nutrition research using critical perspectives of social science and medical anthropology. Her strength is employing qualitative methods including ethnography. Over the years, she has gained vast knowledge and experience in health system strengthening and nutrition-related issues, and food systems in low- and middle-income countries. In 2020 Prof Afsana became the Vice-Chair of the Science Group of the United Nations Food System Summit 2021 (UNFSS 2021). She has immense contributions to the science-policy interface and dialogues of food system, nutrition, gender, etc in UNFSS 2021 at global, regional and national levels. Prof Afsana has authored two books, edited one book, and widely published (+120) papers largely in international peer-reviewed journals, books, and monographs/technical reports. She has been awarded with many prestigious awards for her academic and professional excellence. Her broader experience in research, implementation and policy advocacy in fact has positioned her in many international and local agencies including the government of Bangladesh to influence science-policy interfacing at country and global levels in varied arenas of health and nutrition.

Professor and Lead, Humanitarian Research
James P Grant School of Public Health

  • Edith Cowan University, Western Australia, PhD in Public Health, 2003
  • Harvard School of Public Health, Massachusetts, USA, MPH in International Health, 1997
  • Dhaka Medical College, Dhaka University, Bangladesh, MBBS, 1983

2011-Present, James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Professor

2012-2018, Health, Nutrition & Population Programme, BRAC, Director

2009-2012, Health, Nutrition & Population Programme, BRAC, Associate Director

2008-2009, Health, Nutrition & Population Programme, BRAC, Programme Head

2006-2008, Health, Nutrition & Population Programme, BRAC, Programme Coordinator

2003-2006, Health, Nutrition & Population Programme, BRAC, Programme Manager

2003-2003, Health, Nutrition & Population Programme, BRAC, Senior Sector Specialist

1999-2003, Research and Evaluation Division, BRAC, Senior Research Fellow