Senior Public Health Specialist, Communicable Diseases and Adjunct Assistant Professor
Dr. Kakkar did his MBBS from the University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi and MD from Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) in New Delhi and his Masters in Public Health from Harvard University, Boston, USA.
Dr. Kakkar joined PHFI in June 2006, coordinating functions of the communicable disease unit, providing technical support for research and training to national and state governments on priority communicable disease issues.
He has done niche work in incorporating surveillance, training and research, aimed at crystallising and integrating a strong public health approach to emerging and zoonotic infections. Launching the Roadmap to Zoonoses Initiative (RCZI) in India in 2008 as a national initiative on research, capacity building and health promotion for prevention and control of zoonotic infections in India, he has been mobilising support and consensus around creating a multi-dimensional, multi-sectoral and integrated system-wide approach to human-animal interface.
The recent outbreak of A/H1N1 put the spotlight on gaps in pandemic preparedness, highlighting the need to position advocacy as a priority area, running parallel to policy and programme related work. Setting up two websites on H1N1 and Zoonoses, bringing out a dedicated newsletter and working on a communications strategy have been key outcomes. Some of the support to state governments in the recent past included undertaking a study on Rabies Control Initiatives in Tamil Nadu.
As member of the International expert group on WHO’s Strategy for Management of Zoonotic Public Health Risks at Human-Animal Interface, he inputted on the global strategy, and by virtue of being part of CDC/WHO/OIE/FAO's international expert group on operationalising the 'One health' approach, he is expanding his understanding of infectious diseases and zoonotic infections, especially in the developing country context.
As Member of the One Health Alliance of South Asia (OHASA) as also Team Leader for a multi-country Ecohealth project of IDRC on Japanese Encephalitis in South Asia, he hopes to bring a more refined and sharper focus to the kind of interventions that can be planned and implemented for zoonoses control in India.
His other work at PHFI involves developing curricular content and learning modules for infectious diseases related components of MPH and DPH programmes. He is working on Bihar Evaluation of Social Franchising and Telemedicine and has been Guest Editor for the Asia Europe Journal’s issue on migration (currently under print). He is also Member of the National Task force set up to assess, review and suggest measures on anti-microbial resistance.
He started his career as a Senior Resident Doctor in the Department of Microbiology in MAMC and later moved to WHO’s India Country Office first as National Consultant (Laboratory Surveillance) and then as National Professional Officer (Laboratory Surveillance).
Areas of Interest:
Infectious disease epidemiology and diagnosis with special focus on epidemic prone and re-emerging communicable diseases like avian influenza, SARS and major zoonoses