To celebrate the first anniversary of our publication, we at The Business Standard have decided to recognise the contribution of various individuals in different fields during the last year. Dr Samir Kumar Saha and Dr Senjuti Saha are the ‘changemakers’ for the contribution to the field of science in 2020
Microbiologist father-daughter duo Dr Samir Kumar Saha and Dr Senjuti Saha are The Business Standard's (TBS) changemakers in the field of science.
The Sahas are working to close the gap in healthcare delivery between low-income countries, where child mortality is high, and wealthier countries, by using data, state-of-the-art diagnostics, and vaccines to battle infectious diseases. Their research is not only being used in Bangladesh, but by other countries in South Asia facing similar health challenges.
Together, the father-daughter team are a dynamic duo of global health.
Dr Samir Kumar heads the department of microbiology at the Dhaka Shishu Hospital in Dhaka and helped to found the Child Health Research Foundation (CHRF), where Dr Senjuti Saha works at.
He played an instrumental role in helping Bangladesh introduce two big childhood killers, the meningitis and pneumonia vaccines.
In order to encourage public health officials to support the rollout of both vaccinations, which have already prevented thousands of deaths, Samir provided data and evidence.
Dr Senjuti Saha focuses on seeking easier ways to diagnose unexplained illnesses n poor countries that affect newborns and children.
She was able to unravel the mystery by studying the genetic material of the kids in 2017, when there was an unexpected spike in meningitis cases among children in Bangladesh. But she had to fly the samples to the U.S. for examination to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Since then, in Bangladesh, she has set up a low-cost testing tool to help the nation rapidly combat potential outbreaks of meningitis and other deadly diseases.
Earlier on 12 May 2020 a team of eight CHRF researchers, led by Dr Sejuti Saha successfully mapped the genome sequence of Covid-19 for the first time in the country.
Read about the dynamic father-daughter duo here.