​​Our People

Pakistan​

Dr Zulfiqar A. Bhutta is the Robert Harding Inaugural Chair in Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Co-Director of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health and the Founding Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at the Aga Khan University. He also holds adjunct professorships at several leading universities globally including the Schools of Public Health at Johns Hopkins (Baltimore), Tufts University (Boston), Boston University School of Public Health, University of Alberta as well as the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is a designated Distinguished National Professor of the Government of Pakistan and was the Founding Chair of the National Research Ethics Committee of the Government of Pakistan from 2003-2014. Dr Bhutta was a member of the Independent Expert Review Group (iERG) appointed by the UN Secretary General for monitoring global progress in maternal and child health MDGs (2011-2015). He represented the global academic and research organizations on the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (Gavi) Board and serves on its Evaluation Advisory Committee. Dr Bhutta is a co- Chair of the Global Countdown 2030 Initiative, the co-Chair of the Maternal and Child Health oversight committee of World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO) and the Chairman of the Coalition of Centres in Global Child Health with its secretariat based at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. He is a technical member of the recently appointed high-level UN Health and Human Rights committee, an executive committee member of Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) and a member of the Independent Expert Group producing the Global Nutrition Reports since 2014. 

Dr Bhutta’s research interests include newborn and child survival, maternal and child undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. He leads large research groups based in Toronto, Karachi and Nairobi with a special interest in research synthesis, scaling up evidence based interventions in community settings and implementation research in difficult circumstances. In particular his work with community health workers and outreach services has influenced integrated maternal and newborn outreach programs for marginalized populations all over the world. His group’s work with the WHO and PMNCH in developing consensus based essential interventions for women, children and adolescents is the dominant set of agreed interventions guiding global policy. Presently, Professor Bhutta is leading two global academic consortia; one working on improving reproductive, maternal and child health in conflict settings and humanitarian emergencies and the other focused on integrated investments to improve child and adolescent health across the life course. View Profile​​


Dr. Sajid Bashir Soofi, MBBS, FCPS is the Professor at the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and Associate Director at Centre of Excellence in Women & Child Health, Aga Khan University. He is a clinician researcher and a public health expert with vast experience of community-based research & surveys. He has been awarded the prestigious International Health Research Award by the American Academic of Pediatrics in 2010. He is also the recipient of the prestigious scientific award of CDC - the Charles C. Shepard Science Award by Centre for Disease Control CDC. His research areas include maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health with an emphasis on nutrition and infectious diseases. The key areas that Dr. Soofi worked over the last decade have been predominantly in epidemiological and interventional trials focusing on neonatal child health and nutrition, the majority being cluster randomized trial and surveys. The evidence congregated through these trials has played an instrumental role in guiding policy and programs, including the evaluation of health interventions at local and regional level.

Dr. Soofi academic bibliography comprises over 120 publications, book chapters, reviews and commentaries. He has published in several high-impact international journals, including Lancet, BMC Research, Journal of Infection and Public Health and Vaccine. He was co-investigators of National Nutrition Surveys, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Pakistan (2011 & 2018). He supported National and Provincial EOCs of Pakistan and Afghanistan in generating evidence on polio sero protection level of children to review and improve their operational strategies for eradication of polio from Pakistan. Presently, Dr Soofi is responsible for the implementation of Third Party Verification Immunization Coverage Survey, Strengthening Essential immunization, Willows Reproductive Health Projects, Stunting Prevention Projects, Polio and Sero Prevalence Surveys and Strengthening MNCH services with financial support from World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Health Organization, Harvard University, World Food Program, Swiss Red Cross and UNICEF in different districts of Pakistan.​ View​ P​rofile​


Dr Muhammad Atif Habib, PhD is a Public health expert and holds a faculty position in the department of Paediatrics at the Women and Child Health Division at Aga Khan University. He has vast public health experience and skills and has been involved in multiple national and international maternal, neonatal and child health projects. His research interests include areas in child health with emphasis on nutrition. He has significant experience of developing, implementing and evaluating epidemiological studies and interventions trials on maternal and child health and has also being an integral part of large scale immunization surveys such as National Nutrition Surveys conducted in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Eritrea. His academic bibliography comprised of several high impact peer reviewed publications and technical report and a book chapter. Dr Habib is also a certified trainer for Emergency Nutrition Assessment (ENA), Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) & others. View profile


Zahid Memon, Zahid Memon is working as Director Projects and provides research leadership and strategic oversight to the Centre’s efforts in designing and undertaking health systems and community engagement implementation research portfolio. He is currently overseeing Centre’s MNCH flagship implementation research at scale project Umeed-Nau (New Hope). 

Zahid had led the design and implementation of health systems strengthening and community engagement research projects to create an evidence base for policy development at the national and international levels to improve maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health. In additions he has developed effective monitoring, learning and evaluation systems to track progress, and regularly evaluate program components, to measure success that is effectively communicated to the university leadership, funders, and collaborators.

Zahid has previously held key leadership positions in the maternal, newborn and child health in Pakistan, including as Head of Research and M&E at Greenstar Social Marketing Pakistan and as the Research Specialist with the DFID’s flagship maternal and newborn health program, the British Council-implemented Research and Advocacy Fund (RAF).

Zahid Memon holds the European Master of Public Health (Europubhealth), consisting of dual MPHs from the University of Sheffield (United Kingdom) and the University of Copenhagen (Denmark). He also holds a postgraduate degree in Anthropology from the Quaid-e-Azam University (Pakistan).

In addition to this, Zahid has made significant contributions global public health. He was instrumental not only in the developmental phase but in the analytical phases of different health and nutrition-related research projects in Sri Lanka, Maldives, Eretria, and Afghanistan.  These projects helped local ministries of health and UNICEF initiatives develop health and nutrition intervention packages that target the countries’ many problems and to educate the people of the country to alter their practices to raise healthier children.

Zahid Memon has published several articles in peer-reviewed international and national journals, co-authored a book and wrote book chapters on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition. 



Dr Jai K Das works as an Assistant Professor for the Division of Women and Child Health and the Section Head of the Section of Public Health and Epidemiology at the Aga Khan University. He holds a bachelor’s in medicine and has done his residency in paediatric surgery and then completed his masters. He is currently pursuing his PhD in population and public health. As a part of the Maternal Child Health team, he has been actively involved in research including community-based trials, qualitative and mixed methods research and also conducting evidence based systematic reviews for various commissioning agencies. He is currently Pakistan’s site director for the Cochrane Collaboration and coordinator for the Maternal Child Link on the Global Health Network. His research interests include interventions to address maternal and child nutrition and infections. He has been a part of the “Global Action Plan for diarrhea and pneumonia-DGAPP” which has been published as a Lancet Series for Childhood Diarrhea and Pneumonia in 2013. He is also a lead author for the recent Lancet series on ‘Maternal and Child Undernutrition- 2013’ and ‘Newborn and Neonatal Health- 2014’ and ‘Stillbirth Series - 2016’. He is the author of more than 100 international peer-reviewed papers and contributed to more than 15 book chapters concerned with international maternal and child health and nutrition. He is also the editor of the book ‘Pakistan, SDGs and Health’. He is on the editorial team of ‘BMC Paediatrics’ and PLoS’. He has worked on various reports which have been used to influence policy both nationally and internationally and has been on guideline committees with the WHO. He holds a strong interest in academics and actively conducts training workshops and involved in teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. His interests are related to the use of evidence in policy and programme​s, including estimates of burden of disease, estimating effectiveness of various interventions, development of research capacity and the strengthening of public health. View profile​​


Dr Rehana A Salam​ works as an Assistant Professor in the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health Division of Women and Child Health at the Aga Khan University. She has completed her PhD in the Discipline of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health from the University of Adelaide, Australia. Her research interests include nutrition and infections during pregnancy, neonatal health and adolescent health. Her experience in research encompasses systematic reviews, research synthesi​s, guidelines and translating research evidence into policy and practice with a wide exposure of working in collaboration with​ national stakeholders as well as international agencies. She has been a part of various study groups working on global advocacy projects including the three Lancet series on ‘diarrhoea and pneumonia’, ‘maternal and child nutrition’ and ‘newborn and neonatal mortality’. She has authored over a 100 international peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.  View profile​


Mir Asghar Ali Khan Working as Director, Research and Grants Administration and responsible for ensuring that all the research administration functions of the extramural and intramural research grants of the CoE WCH (and also for the Institute for Global Health and Development) are appropriately managed. From pre-award to post-award including contract negotiations, regulatory affairs, compliance, audits, financial management, effort reporting, due diligence of proposals, and coordination with support departments of the University, the scope also expands to communicating and negotiating with international and national granting agencies. With a Master of Research Administration (MRA) from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Business Administration from Pakistan, Mr Khan possesses over 14 years of proven experience of in research administration and grants management.

​Mr Khan's vision is to serve the developing world in the area of women and child health by advocating and promoting transparent, effective and timely research.​ View pro​file​​​​