Young Alumni Award 2011 - Astha Ramaiya

Young alum inspires by connecting with the global community

astha ramaiyaAstha Ramaiya graduated from the University of Waterloo with a BSc in Health Studies in 2007.  While a student, she was honoured with the President’s Circle Volunteer Award and helped organize Canada's first non-profit student run health and medical conference focusing on non-traditional professions in health care. Astha was also accepted as a summer intern for the World Health Organization working in Tanzania. She lent her skills evaluating a training program for female sex trade workers; aimed at positive behavioural outcomes and a decrease in the prevalence of HIV and AIDS.

After leaving UWaterloo, Astha pursued a Master’s degree in Public Health. Her stirring passion for health promotion and social justice led her to internship placements in Nepal and a position which brought her back to Tanzania.

Astha was chosen to join the competitive Nyaya Health internship program in Nepal, where she provided critical input to the mission and strategy of the organization. Working for Nyaya Health, Astha developed a training program for Community Health Workers, assisted with grant writing, and engaged the community with online communications.

Astha has spent the last three years carrying out grass root level public health work through the Ifakara Health Institute in Dar-Es-Salaam in Tanzania. Her research focuses on decreasing maternal and neonatal mortality by improving working conditions of health care workers, preventing adolescent pregnancy, and ensuring HIV free survival for infants born from HIV positive mothers.

Astha’s work is having a tremendous impact on local communities. She was recently nominated for the Tanzania Women of Achievement Award in the Health Sector and Young Achiever categories, and has been profiled in the Dar-Es-Salaam newspaper. She is astutely aware of global issues, particularly as they pertain to women’s and children’s health. She works passionately to achieve what she thinks is right and just with unwavering commitment and energy. She speaks six languages and is currently learning a seventh; she makes the time to learn local languages to better communicate with those she meets.

She has a drive and leadership style that is contagious to those around her and serves as an inspiration to our current students and young alumni.