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Deepti Chirmulay led the Sure Start Project in India from its inception in 2006 to September 2007.

It is with profound sadness that we share with you the passing of former PATH staff member Dr. Deepti Chirmulay. Deepti passed away on Saturday, March 8, 2008, after a prolonged illness. Deepti led the Sure Start Project in India from its inception in 2006 to September 2007. Our deepest sympathies are with her family, loved ones, and colleagues.

Deepti was known for her devotion and caring towards others. As a longtime advocate for improving the health of mothers and newborns throughout India, Deepti worked tirelessly to introduce interventions that provide good-quality care and battle social constructs preventing women from accessing the care they deserve. She was instrumental in connecting with grassroots organizations in two Indian states, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, working closely with the Government of India to design programs to complement that country's commitment to improving maternal and newborn health.

Her passion for preventing maternal and newborn deaths in India resulted in Sure Start's dramatic community outreach to more than 500 villages in nine districts in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where one-third of India's newborn deaths occur. Under Deepti's leadership, the team trained more than 50 community members for participatory data collection and planning. Her compassion and dedication towards the many lives she advocated for within the most impoverished areas of India will long be remembered. Deepti's colleagues awarded her with PATH's Finding Synergies Award in recognition of her building and nourishing synergies across PATH and with external partners.

Before joining PATH, Deepti was a senior program officer and deputy team leader for the Basic Health Programme in Maharashtra with the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ). While at GTZ, she organized, monitored, and evaluated inputs for capacity building and research towards health system reform. Deepti devoted much of her career towards planning, managing, and evaluating rural health programs and will be remembered as a leader in this field. She held an MD in pediatrics and an MBBS from the University of Poona, India.

Deepti will be remembered at PATH and her legacy lives on in the healthy newborns and mothers who thrive today because of her insight and hard work. She will be deeply missed.

Posted March 11, 2008.