“As a frontline health worker, I don’t take care of a critically ill baby and not talk with his/her mother and father about contraception, nutrition, diarrhea, vaccinations, early childhood development. It’s a very comprehensive package.” —Dr. Cyril Engmann. Photo: PATH/Evelyn Hockstein.
Dr. Cyril Engmann, world-renowned expert in newborn health, is PATH’s director of Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN). Deborah Kidd, senior communications officer for the Vaccine Development Program at PATH, shares excerpts from her interview with Cyril about his team’s work, his vision for integration, and reflections on his newest role.
Q: Tell me why a focus on mothers is pivotal for global health and development.
A: We all appreciate the incredible role that mothers play. Without them, the data suggest mortality rates increase significantly in their children. Mothers are children’s best advocates, and being able to empower, educate, and equip mothers (and fathers) to be able to advocate confidently for their children is very powerful.
Q: How does PATH’s MNCHN Program integrate a focus on those first critical newborn weeks with further healthy development?
A: I saw this in action when I traveled to South Africa and Mozambique to visit our Windows of Opportunity project, a comprehensive focus on a child’s first 1,000 days. This is a critical time period that shapes long-term physical, cognitive, and emotional health. Continue reading