Rajesh Mehta, MD

Rajesh has worked in his current position as Regional Adviser – Newborn, Child and Adolescent health, WHO SEARO, for 6.5 years and has contributed to WHO core functions in the Region. Dr. Mehta has contributed in the provision of technical assistance, capacity building, development of norms standards and guidelines, articulating policy options, development of strategies and operational plans, promotion of integrated approaches and monitoring health trends. Dr. Mehta has contributed to development of Regional Strategies for Adolescent Health, Early Childhood Development, Newborn & Child Health, Prevention & Surveillance of Birth Defects and Framework for quality improvement. Dr. Mehta has assisted in the organization of several Regional meetings for newborn, child and adolescent health. Dr. Mehta has facilitated several capacity building workshops and trainings at Regional and Country levels. Dr. Mehta has provided required technical assistance to Member States that has been appreciated. Dr. Mehta has worked to strengthen partnership regionally and globally.

He has been supporting and steering WHO-CDC (Atlanta) collaborative initiative on birth defects since 2011. Contributed to development of regional strategic framework for prevention and control of birth defects and subsequent development of national plans for prevention and control of birth defects in seven Member States in the Region. Reduction in occurrence of neural tube defects is included as a regional and national target. Fortification of staples with micronutrient has been included as a preventive strategy. Contributed to conceiving and operationalizing a demonstration project to study the feasibility and effectiveness of wheat flour fortification with iron, folic acid and B-12 towards prevention of neural tube defects and anemia in India. Baseline phase has been completed in which biomarker assessment (blood folate) was included. Implementation phase of the demonstration project has been initiated. Advocated and supported India to update the national standards for food fortification to make these consistent with WHO standards and preparation of operational guidelines for wheat flour fortification. Contributed to establishment of online (web-based) hospital-based surveillance of birth defects including neural tube defects for which a regional database (SEAR-NBBD) has been established since 2014 that has been sustained and gradually expanded. Capacity building package was prepared for training in birth defects surveillance and improving quality of data. Supported a series of regional and national training workshops for birth defects surveillance.

He is a Fellow of Indian Academy of Pediatrics and Salzburg Global Fellow in Early Child Development.

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