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Feature BMJ Awards South Asia 2015

BMJ Awards South Asia 2015: judging South Asia’s unsung healthcare heroes

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 07 October 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5305
  1. Jeetha D’Silva, journalist, Mumbai
  1. j.dsilva{at}

Nominations have now closed and judging is underway for the first BMJ Awards South Asia. The finalists have been decided, and the winners will be announced on 30 October 2015 in Mumbai. Jeetha D’Silva reports

More than 900 nominations for the inaugural BMJ Awards South Asia have been received from throughout the region, building on a very successful BMJ Awards India in 2014.1 The awards aim to identify and honour doctors and other healthcare practitioners who are striving to improve healthcare delivery and medical research in the region and have brought to the fore many of South Asia’s unsung healthcare heroes.

One of whom is Shershah Syed, founder of the Nursing and Midwifery Tutors Training Program at the Abu Zafar Institute of Medical Sciences in Karachi. The programme has been selected as a finalist for the Excellence in Medical Education award for its emphasis on training midwives to improve maternal health and reduce maternal morbidity in Pakistan. “Our initiative is not widely acknowledged in Pakistan,” Syed told The BMJ, but he hopes this will change with the recognition of making it to the final shortlist of the BMJ Awards.

Pakistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. “About 30 000 women die every year because of pregnancy, and more than 400 000 women suffer from pregnancy related complications,” said Syed. The initiative, which started in 2008, trains midwifery tutors who can then train “an army of midwives to fight against maternal death and morbidity.” These midwifery tutors are deputed to train students of midwifery courses at government and private hospitals.2 “We have also translated more than 14 books into Urdu and Sindhi for midwives and nurses,” he said.

Positive impact

Being selected as a finalist for the BMJ Awards South Asia means a lot to Syed. He …

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