SIGHT Award 2021 for improving care of mothers and newborns

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The 2021 SIGHT Award is awarded to Dr. Ashish KC, associate professor at the Department of Women's and Children's Health at Uppsala University. The SEK 100,000 prize recognises Dr. Ashish KC’s research into improving care to reduce death of mothers and newborns during childbirth in low- and middle-income countries.

Far too many women and newborns still die and suffer unnecessarily during pregnancy and childbirth. Additionally, between 10 to 15 million newborns require breathing assistance every year at birth. Mothers and newborns in low-and-middle-income countries (LMIC) have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic and inequality in health care gaps have widened.

"COVID-19 pandemic has become a litmus test to measure the access and quality of healthcare for mothers and newborns in low- and middle-income countries," says SIGHT Award 2021 Laureate Dr. Ashish KC, who has led maternity-related research studies in public hospitals of Nepal, in pandemic-related lockdowns.

“To save more lives and improve quality of care, a major reform is required in health system management. Above all, empowering women to voice out for better care in society is crucial to saving more lives. Weak infrastructure, reduced access to clean water and electricity, and poor working environment for midwives and healthcare professionals are detrimental factors that affect mother and newborn health now and in the future. In addition, the on-going climate crisis exacerbate health consequences for pregnant women and newborns,” says Dr. KC.

Dr. KC is visibly touched to receive the SIGHT Award 2021 on November 25, 2021 during the student event Global Health Night at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. “This encourages and aspires me to work even harder for the health of mothers and newborns,” he says.

Prize citation:

”For his dedicated research and implementation work to reduce the risk of injury and increase survival for newborns, children, and mothers in low- and middle-income countries.”

Facts about Dr. Ashish KC:
Dr. Ashish KC is associate professor at the Department of Women's and Children's Health at Uppsala University. His development of different interventions to improve the immediate care of newborn children has led to better health and survival. Following his dissertation in 2016, Dr. Ashish KC established a research institute in Nepal and built a broad international research network. His studies on how to improve quality of maternal and newborn health care in low-resource environments was awarded the Uppsala University Oscarpriset earlier this year. Dr. Ashish KC is one of eleven SIGHT Fellows 2021–2023.

SIGHT Award 2021:
The prize, which was founded with support from the Einhorn Family Foundation in 2017, will be awarded on November 25 during the Global Health Night & SIGHT Award 2021 event at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The recipient of the SIGHT Award 2021 is elected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In connection with the award ceremony, a seminar will be held for students with a panel discussion on whether technology can be a good force for solving planetary health.

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For more information and interviews:

Dr. Ashish KC,
associate professor at the Department of Women's and Children's Health at Uppsala University

+46 72 900 10 74

SIGHT's director:
Peter Friberg,,
+46 70 676 00 13

Photos of the Laureate are available on the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' website.

SIGHT was established in January 2017, at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. SIGHT’s purpose is to promote an interdisciplinary approach, to strengthen and bridge Swedish research and education, and to provide a scientific basis for national and transnational collaborative policy work, in the field of global health. Sight is an institute under the auspices of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

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