In the fall of each year, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) recognizes scientists who have made important research contributions to public health and acknowledges them with famous Charles C. Shepard Science Award. This year Professor Samir Kumar Saha, Ph.D., Head of the Department of Microbiology of Dhaka Shishu Hospital and Executive Director of Child Health Research Foundation (CHRF) and his team was awarded in the Assessment category for their outstanding contribution in public health, demonstrated by the publication of ‘Causes and incidence of community-acquired serious infections among young children in South Asia (ANISA): an observational cohort study’ in the Lancet in 2018.
Charles C. Shepard Science Award was named in honour of Dr. Charles C. Shepard, M.D., the internationally recognized microbiologist who was chief of the Leprosy and Rickettsia Branch at CDC for more than 30 years, until his death on February 18, 1985. The awards are given both for scientific publications and for lifetime scientific achievement. For scientific publications, the award is presented to the best manuscript on original research published by a CDC or ATSDR scientist in a reputable, peer-reviewed journal. This year, the publication from Dr. Saha has been selected by the award team.
Dr. Saha was the Principal Investigator (PI) of the multi-site and multi-country project on Aetiology of Neonatal Infection in South Asia (ANISA) project – the project which brings the award to Dr. Saha. It was one of the largest studies on childhood infections and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The study involved 100,000 and 80,000 children in three countries of South Asia – Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The project determined the population-based incidence, etiology and antibiotic resistance profiles of community-acquired young infant infections using community-based surveillance and state-of-the-art diagnostic tests. The project also aimed to identify risk factors for acquiring laboratory-confirmed infections and to describe clinical predictors of laboratory-confirmed infections.