Overview

Dr. Larson’s primary fields of interest are health systems research, bringing proven and appropriate technologies to scale, and child survival in developing country settings. Dr. Larson assumed the directorship of the Centre for International Child Health in 2008.

Since joining the Centre, he has been focusing on project commitments in Uganda, Kenya, Bangladesh, and China, with research focusing on innovations in support of acute illness management of young children (Uganda, Kenya, Bangladesh) and neuro-developmental disabilities in China.

Research

Developing and delivering integrated innovations in support of acute care and improved survival of under-five children
Of the nearly 10 million annual deaths occurring in children under five years of age in less developed countries, over 80% are potentially avoidable. In addition to measures that prevent disease, affordable, proven acute illness treatment interventions exist that have the potential to save millions of lives each year. This project is currently validating a color coding scheme and proxy measurements for a child’s weight that will guide clinical decision making within village and primary care clinic settings. This is being done in Uganda, Kenya and Bangladesh.

Scaling Up Zinc: Impact of an NGO sponsored training and support intervention targeting unregulated private sector providers on household diarrhoea management practices in rural Bangladesh
Within the NGO sector, direct provision of health services is provided, however some NGOs also work closely with the private sector providers. This study provides objective evidence of the impact of this approach, using the scale-up of zinc for the treatment of childhood diarrhoea as a test case. The study will be assessing NGO impact among unregulated (unlicensed), rural service providers. Further, this study will serve to assess the value of this model of scaling up activities in the non-state sector with a particular eye toward more generalizable and replicable improvement in quality of care strategies between NGOs and unlicensed private providers.

Clinical Effectiveness and Preventive Impact of Zinc Treatment for Acute Diarrhoea in Children: A Cluster-randomized Field Trial in Rural Western Kenya
Zinc deficiency is common in Africa. It has been shown in Asia that zinc as treatment for diarrhoea can shorten the course of episodes of diarrhoea, as well as prevent future episodes. The use of zinc to treat diarrhoea in an African setting, where malaria, HIV and malnutrition are common, has not been well-studied. The objective is to evaluate if zinc treatment for diarrhoea in Kenyan children will decrease the community prevalence of diarrhoea and to compare clinic vs. home-based distribution of zinc blister packs. This study is in the analysis and write-up phase.

Honours & Awards

Honorary Professor of Medical Sciences Chelyabinsk Medical Academy Chelyabinsk, Russia