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Kaosar Afsana

Professor and Head, Humanitarian Hub

Humanitarian Hub

Short Biography

Kaosar Afsana has over 30 years of experience in public health and nutrition. She is a Professor at JPGSPH and pursued her MBBS from Dhaka Medical College, Bangladesh, MPH from Harvard University, USA, and PhD from Edith Cowan University, Australia. Before joining JPGSPH formally in 2019, she worked at BRAC, the largest NGO in the world. Concurrently, She served the School as adjunct faculty in 2005 and became full professor in 2011. In her 26 years at BRAC, she became the Director of the Health Nutrition and Population program where she conceived, designed, and led many breakthrough interventions. Having a rich background in implementation and research on varied issues, she broadened her scope of work and capacity to expand innovative interventions in both development and humanitarian sectors. Currently, her implementation experience is mingled with research focusing on sexual/reproductive health, maternal and child health and nutrition, early child development, health systems, and humanitarian crisis. Her knowledge and experience in research, implementation, and policy advocacy have positioned her in many international and local agencies to influence evidence-based policy/program at country and global levels in diverse health and nutrition fields. She has been awarded many prestigious awards including the President's Prize for the best thesis on an Asian topic, D.K. Agencies India’s award for the best Australian doctoral thesis, the highest Research Medal from the University, Woman of Distinction Award 2011l, Global Innovation Award from Save-GSK, etc. Prof Afsana has authored books and widely published journal papers and book chapters.

Module(s) taught (in MPH)

  • MPH 530: Health Systems Management

Current Projects

1.	Title: Co-design and develop the research protocol and assess the effectiveness of implementing an integrated community-based MIYCN and PHC service package in selected rural upazilas in Bangladesh, 
Role: PI
2.	Title: Menstrual Regulation and Post-abortion Care in Rohingya Refugee Camps 
Donors: NORAD, FCDO, (FCDO, the Embassy of the Netherlands 
Role: Co-PI
3.	Title: Improving food and nutrition security by enhancing women's empowerment 
Donor: NWO (Dutch Research Council
Role: Co-PI  

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

Selected Books
1.	Von Braun J, Afsana K, Fresco LO, Hassan M (editors). 2023. Science and Innovations for Food Systems Transformation and Summit Actions. UN Food Summit Science and Innovations, Gewerbestrasse, Switzerland: Springer Nature
2.	Afsana, K. 2005. Disciplining Birth. Power, Knowledge and Childbirth Practices in Bangladesh, Dhaka: The University Press Limited

Selected Journals and Book Chapters
3.	Rahman A, Khaled N, Akhter M, Yesmin S, Zaman SS, Marium E, Afsana K. (2023). The well-being of Rohingya children in Rohingya camps of Bangladesh during the Covid 19 pandemic: a qualitative exploration, Early Child Development and Care, 193:4, 463-476
DOI: 10.1080/03004430.2022.2106979
4.	Hildon ZJL, Panchapakesan C, Hasan MT, Khaled N, Chan AY, Tripathi S, Wong MCP, Lwin MO, I-Cheng MC, Afsana K. (2022). Exploring theory-based behavioral interventions promoting COVID-19 prevention and healthcare-seeking for migrant worker men in Singapore: a qualitative study, BMC Public Health, 22: 2113, 1-13.
5.	Von Braun J, Afsana K, Fresco LO, Hasan M, Torrero M. (2021). Food system concepts and definitions for science and political action, Nature Food, 2, 748-750,
6.	Nguyen PH, Scott S, Khuong LQ, Pramanik P, Ahmed A, Rashid SF, Afsana K, Menon P. (2021). Adolescent birth and child undernutrition: an analysis of demographic and health surveys in Bangladesh, 1996–2017. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. Special Issue, Sept, 1500 (1): 69-81, doi: 10.1111/nyas.14608
7.	Afsana K. (2020). Heard and Hard Reality of Maternal Health: Are We Oversimplifying the Challenges in Bangladesh? In Emma J. Flatt, Vani S, Murali, Silvia Tieri (eds). Voices on South Asia: Interdisciplinary perspectives on Women's Status, Challenges and Futures. Singapore: World Scientific.
8.	Kruk ME, Kujawski S, Moyer CA, Adanu RM, Afsana K, Cohen J, Glassman A, Labrique A, Reddy KS, Yamey G.  (2016). Next generation maternal health: external shocks and health system innovations.  Lancet, Nov 5, 388 (10057): 2296-2306,
9.	Afsana K, Haque MR, Sobhan S, Shahin SA. (2014). BRAC’s experience in scaling-up MNP in Bangladesh. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2014;23(3):377-384. DOI: 10.6133/apjcn.2014.23.3.22
10.	Afsana K, Wahid SS. (2013). Health care for poor people in the urban slums of Bangladesh. The Lancet  2013, Dec  21;382(9910):2049-51, doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62295-3.
11.	Afsana K, Rohde J. (2011). Decline in Neonatal mortality in large poor populations. The Lancet, Jun 25;377(9784):2178-9, DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60960-4


GSK-Save the Children Health Innovation Award for Manoshi  	2014
The Woman of Distinction Award 2011 by NGO Committee  on the Status of Women, NGO CSW, New York              	2011
 D.K. Agencies India’s award for the best Australian  doctoral thesis on an Asian subject  	2005
Asian Studies Association of Australia's Presidents' Prize for the best thesis on Asian topic	2004
The 2003 University Research Medal  Edith Cowan University       	2003
The 2003 Faculty Research Medal Edith Cowan University                                                                         	2003
International Post Graduate Research Fellowship                        	2000-03
Edith Cowan University Fellowship                                                  	
BRAC Study Grant for MPH                                                               	1996-97
Bangladesh Government Scholarship                                             	1977-82

Research Interests

Sexual reproductive maternal neonatal child and adolescents health nutrition early childhood development health systems climate change mental health


  • PhD in Public Health