Laili Irani

MATERNAL and Newborn Health, India

Growing up in Tanzania, Laili Irani always had an interest in understanding how things worked. She became a medical doctor in Tanzania and became intrigued by how her patients at the hospital came to experience their respective illnesses. She wanted to know more – what was really going on? What were the underlying social issues that led to these illnesses? How could she mitigate them from the start?

She knew she needed to study more. She received her MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins University and went on to get her doctorate in the Department of Maternal and Child Health in demography and econometrics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Today, Laili researches the impact of health, nutrition, and sanitation programming among women’s self-help groups in India, observing how community-based solutions can extend the reach of health and nutrition services to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality rates and improve women’s and their children’s lives. Already, preliminary findings suggest significant increase in the uptake of healthy maternal and child behaviors among those women who were exposed to health and nutrition interventions through self-help groups.

Evaluating the Integration of Health and Nutrition Messages Into Self-Help Groups in India

In Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India, Population Council researchers are evaluating the effect of behavior change communication interventions among women in self-help groups.