Alumna Anita Zaidi awarded $1million to save children’s lives in Pakistan village

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Pakistani physician Anita Zaidi, SM ’99, has won the first-ever $1 million Caplow Children’s Prize, the largest humanitarian prize worldwide dedicated to saving children’s lives. Zaidi’s project—aimed at reducing child mortality in Rehri Goth, an impoverished fishing village in southern Pakistan—was one of more than 550 projects submitted from around the world.

Professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health at Karachi’s Aga Khan University, Zaidi plans to use the prize money in Rehri Goth to reduce neonatal deaths during the first 28 days of life, when children are most vulnerable. Currently, one out of every 17 babies in the village dies in the first 28 days after birth, and one out of nine dies before age five.

Zaidi will work to eliminate malnutrition among expectant and new mothers and their babies, ensure that children have access to primary health care and immunizations, and train community health workers and midwives at Aga Khan University. She estimates that her project will reduce child mortality rates in the village by 65% and save the lives of nearly 200 children over the next two years.