Asif Khowaja

 
Peter von Dadelszen / Craig Mitton
Karachi
Canada
 

Research Topic

Economic evaluation of the community level interventions for pre-eclampsia in Pakistan

Research Description

Globally, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, particularly pre-eclampsia (PE) and eclampsia (E) are the second leading cause of maternal mortality. It is estimated that PE/E complicates ten million pregnancies, causing up to 76,000 maternal and 500,000 fetal/newborn deaths annually. Nearly all of these deaths (>99%) occur in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), particularly South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. My research will focus on economic evaluation of the community level interventions for pre-eclampsia in Pakistan. This study will close the knowledge gap regarding cost-effectiveness of community-based interventions in improving pregnancy outcomes from PE/E in Pakistan. In Pakistan, findings from this research will be of great value to policy decisions on the allocation of resources for post-trial program scale-up. In long run, this research will propagate similar model of care for other LMICs in the region.

What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

I enjoy seminars and journal club presentations, as we get to interact with others (ask questions / learn details). They provide opportunity to present our research work, and receive feedback from peers and other faculty members. There are always new topics presented which help me think outside of the box, and relate to my own research work.  

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

Nothing as such, because I had visited UBC campus and lived in Vancouver for a couple of weeks before I applied for graduate studies. I loved the campus as a place to stay and study.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

There were three main reasons that favored my decision to study at UBC.

  1. I was very impressed with the faculty profile and relevance to my PhD research interests.
  2. The University offers merit-based graduate scholarship (International partial tuition waiver) and eligibility for other international graduate awards to ease the financial burden of international students.
  3. Climate of Vancouver city is not extremely cold/hot, such that my family (with young kids) would like to come. 

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

The program coursework and faculty mentorship are excellent. There are several student-led trainee committees that I get to participate with and learn/demonstrate leadership skills. 

 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I worked for about 5 years after completing a Master’s in Health Policy & Management, and realized a need to upgrade my academic profile (knowledge and skills) in order to excel in my professional career. My PhD training is incrementally helping me to learn a new set of skills; to apply in my current research work; and to establish a network with subject experts internationally. 

What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?

The body of knowledge is rapidly growing and it is really becoming difficult to keep-up with the new knowledge (new techniques/procedures) and apply into the practice. I believe, pursuing a PhD will open-up doors (broaden my academic horizon) to seek/ learn new knowledge and make learning a life-long process.  

How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?

The participatory teaching-learning methods; and opportunity to present new research ideas supported by the recent literature are key to prepare us to cope-up with the challenges. 

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

Professional experience in my area of research, good time management/communication skills, and writing skills best prepared me for UBC graduate program.  

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

I like to go out in the parks with family and enjoy fresh air. I participate in voluntarily activities at the community center to contribute and learn from people here. 

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

I would suggest new graduate students to familiarize themselves with the program that they intend to apply. It is not necessary to visit (in-person) but there are other possible ways of connecting with the program coordinator and/or director to learn the program details. Also, it would be nice to check with a potential supervisor or program person, if they have departmental level scholarship(s) to support graduate studies. In fact, there is a lot of resource/help available, after you are selected into the program.