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Department of Eco-epidemiology

Our department is involved in various branches of public health research. Through cutting edge IT and biotechnology, we aim to create more accurate assessment methods in global health, improve responses to public health needs on a local scale, and open new directions in health science to pass on to future generations. Our activities include the following:

Department of Eco-epidemiology

Members

  • Professor Satoshi Kaneko
  • Assistant Professor Yoshito Fujii
  • Research Fellow Yombo Dan Justin Kalenda
  • Research Fellow Rie Ozaki
  • Visiting Researcher Tomoko Komagata
  • Visiting Researcher Kazuya Ogawa
  • Visiting Researcher(JSPS) Job Wasonga
  • Visiting Researcher Chisa Shinsugi
  • Assistant Emi Nakayama
  • Assistant Kuniko Shimoda
  • Assistant Shiho Chikatoshi
  • Graduate student Junichi Tanaka

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Activities

1) Development of microsphere-based simultaneous multiple assays and surveillance systems for multiple infectious diseases in Africa. Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are spreading across Sub-Saharan Africa, but the actual situation of NTDs is still unclear. Simple and cost effective methods for monitoring NTDs are desirable, especially where distributions of multiple NTDs are overlapping. Toward this goal, we are developing a simultaneous multiple antibody assay system, utilizing microsphere-based multiplex technology. We are also using the latest in IT for developing in-field surveillance strategies.

2) Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) in Lao PDR. In many developing countries, civil registration and vital statistics systems are still deficient. Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) is a resident registration system for epidemiological research in a given locale. HDSS follows residents and their dynamics over a long-term period. In Lao PDR, we are operating two HDSSs to design research and improve health conditions in rural communities.

3) Epidemiological studies for child health in Kenya. Kwale district is categorized as one of the poorest areas in Kenya. The infant mortality rate in the region remains high. Poor nutritional status in Kwale children contributes to a high prevalence of stunted growth. To improve this situation, we are conducting a child cohort study, attempting to reveal factors that could prevent stunted growth. A finger vein recognition system, connected to tablet computers is being utilized to facilitate follow-up sessions with mother-child pairs.

4) Research on dengue prevention through a residential environmental clean-up program in Sri Lanka. Dengue fever is one of the major health problems in Sri Lanka, and measures of prevention are urgently needed. We are evaluating the effects of environmental intervention: e.g., clean-up activities such as collection of containers left outdoors that act as breeding sites for dengue mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus).

5) Finding malaria vaccine candidate antigens using microsphere-based simultaneous multiple assays. We are working to find novel candidate antigens for malaria vaccine using a cohort in a malaria endemic area with a microsphere-based multiplex assay system.

6) Ethnographic study on difficulties among families with infants in Tohoku, Japan. This study utilizes ethnographic methods to record the current difficulties and support needs among families with infants in Rikuzentakata, one of the devastated regions of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

7) A scientific approach to community-led total sanitation strategies in Africa. The aim of this study is to develop Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) models in Africa. We particularly focus on improving community health through the promotion of toilet use.

8) Non-communicable disease (NCD) project by JICA in Sri Lanka. With increasing economic development and longer life expectancy, the number of lifestyle-related diseases, or non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is expected to increase. However, a mechanism to grasp the actual situation of NCDs does not currently exist in Sri Lanka. The department has cooperated with the JICA NCD management project to establish a system for estimating the number of patients with NCDs.

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