ADN’s Special Sessions on Avoidable Deaths

Avoidable Deaths Network

This page contains the Description, Registration, Timings and Speakers’ Biography for the Special Session on Avoidable Deaths.


The Special Session, titled: Let’s Talk About Avoidable Deaths: Views from Multiple Sectors, aims to raise the visibility of avoidable deaths in the context of disasters and sustainable development. It is organised by the Avoidable Deaths Network (ADN) in collaboration with Makerere University, Uganda, and will be held on 4 December 2020 at 11 AM GMT.

Avoidable death can be considered a positive concept. It advocates that needless deaths, which occur every day globally, can be avoided through effective and timely interventions, early preparedness, early warning systems, effective governance – among other measures. Although the concept of avoidable deaths has its origin in the health sector, it is applicable in other sectors, including disaster management and sustainable development. This Special Session at the ‘International Conference on Geographical Science for Resilient Communities, Ecosystems and Livelihoods under Global Environmental Change’ (G.O.R.I.L.L.A.) on 4 December 2020 will explore the multi-disciplinary appeal and application of avoidable deaths caused by the natural world (e.g. snake bites) and human-made systems (e.g. premature deaths, maternal deaths during disasters) (IFRC, 2014).

Our esteemed speakers are academics, researchers and practitioners from public health, disaster management, disaster risk resilience, and humanitarian sectors and will cover deaths resulting from conditions such as snakebites, tobacco and alcohol consumption, maternal ill-health and deaths from disasters. They will also shed light on the way the number of avoidable deaths can be reduced, and how avoidable deaths can be integrated into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals especially for the Targets 1.5, 3.8, 11.5 and 13.1.

This Special Session is suitable for disaster responders, students, academics, researchers, policymakers, opinion formers, and practitioners interested in avoidable deaths, UN’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction’s Goal A and B, and the Sustainable Development Goals. To be redirected to the ADN Special Session page on the G.O.R.I.L.L.A. Conference website, please click here.  


To register for the Special Session, please fill out the form below. It is not compulsory to register, however, this will enable you to receive the link for the virtual event directly from ADN. 

Registration will close 24 hours prior to the event, on 3 December 2020 at 11 AM GMT. 


    Time Session Title Speaker
     10:30 – 11:00 

    Conference digital platform login on Zoom & Gathering of panellists/speakers


    11:00 – 11:20

    Welcome speech 


    Introducing the Avoidable Deaths Network


    “Let’s Talk about Avoidable Deaths”/ Introduction of Speakers

    Dr Yazidhi Bamutaze


    Dr Hideyuki Shiroshita


    Dr Nibedita Ray-Bennett

    11:20 – 11:55

    Avoidable Mortality in India: Lessons from the Million Death Study

    Professor Prabhat Jha
    (Keynote Speaker)

    11:55 – 12:10

    Deaths in the Snakebite Capital of the World: India

    Mr Gowri Shankar

    12:10 – 12:25

    Progress on the Implementation of the Africa Programme of Action (PoA) for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) 2015-2030

    Mr Gatkuoth Simon Kai

    12:25 – 12:35

    Tea Break
    (with Networking on Zoom)


    12:35 – 12:50

    Using the MISP to reduce excess mortality and morbidity in humanitarian crisis

    Ms Ashley Wolfington

    12:50 – 13:05

    Avoiding Deaths from Infectious Diseases in Bangladesh

    Dr. Afsana Alamgir Khan

     13:05 – 13:25


    Prof. Norio Okada and Mr Mihir Bhatt

    13:25 – 13:30

    Closing of Ceremony


    Dr Nibedita Ray-Bennett


     Dr Hideyuki Shiroshita

    Speakers’ Biography

    Professor Prabhat Jha (OC, MD, DPhil, FCAHS, FRSC) is a University Professor at the University of Toronto, Endowed Professor in Global Health and Epidemiology and Canada Research Chair at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and the founding Director of the Centre for Global Health Research at St. Michael’s Hospital.

    He is the lead investigator of the Million Death Study in India, which quantifies the causes of premature mortality in over 3 million homes from 1998 to current. His publications on tobacco control have enabled a global treaty now signed by over 180 countries. He founded the Statistical Alliance for Vital Events, which focuses on reliable measurement of premature mortality worldwide.

    Earlier, Professor Jha served in senior roles at the World Health Organization and the World Bank. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2012. Professor Jha holds an M.D. from the University of Manitoba and a D.Phil. from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

    Mr Gowri Shankar is a wildlife biologist studying king cobras for close to two decades. He is pursuing his PhD at North Orissa University and is a former exchange student at Uppsala University, Sweden. He is a TED Fellow 2020.

    He has been featured in several wildlife documentaries like the ‘King and I’, ‘Secrets of the King Cobra ‘, ‘Asia’s Deadliest Snake’, ‘Wildest India’, ‘Mysteries of Wild India’ and ‘The Cobra King’ by channels like the BBC, Discovery, NatGeo Wild, Animal Planet, Smithsonian and the National Geographic Channel.

    Mr Shankar is also the founder director of Kalinga Centre for Rainforest Ecology (KCRE), and Kalinga Foundation, an environmental education centre and an NGO focusing on ecological research and conservation respectively.

    Mr Gatkouth Kai is Disaster Risk Management Expert with over 15 years of progressive experience in leading several development initiatives and life-saving humanitarian interventions on the African Continent.

    He is currently working with African Union Commission as Technical Coordinator for Disaster Risk Reduction Unit, a role he is passionately contributing to development and strengthening of institutions and systems of governance for disaster risk management on the continent.

    Prior to joining the AU Commission, Mr Kai managed several peace-building, resilience and complex humanitarian emergency projects.

    Ms Ashley Wolfington is currently the Interim Director of Humanitarian Programmes at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, United States. She was previously the Senior Technical Advisor for Reproductive Health at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). With 15 years of experience in public health and communications, she has worked to promote comprehensive reproductive health care in countries across the globe, through Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

    Ms Wolfington’s expertise lies in sexual and reproductive health and HIV, humanitarian and development programs and policy, and her work furthers her commitment to elevate the voices of women and girls as well as amplify the needs of those affected by conflict, health emergencies, and disasters. She holds a BA in Political Science with a minor in French from Duke University and an MPH from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.   

    Dr Afsana Alamgir Khan is the Deputy Program Manager of National Malaria Elimination and Aedes Transmission Disease Control Program under Communicable Disease Control, Directorate General of Health Services, MOHFW. She joined Bangladesh Civil Service in 2006. Since then, she has been working in different Health Portfolios such as NCDC, Drug Administration, Public Health Institute etc.

    Dr Khan has experience working as Upazilla Health and Family Planning officer (UHFPO), Bacteriologist in the Institute of Public Health, Senior Medical officer in Arsenic and Non-communicable Diseases, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). She has been in the USAID funded and MSH implemented SIAPS program as Technical advisor from 2014 till of 2018. She has a strong back ground on working in Pharmacovigilance, GMP and other regulatory activities of DGDA (Directorate General of Drug Administration). 

    She is also a Senior News Presenter in NTV, Bangladesh. Besides, she is an enlisted Hawaiian Guitarist and News Presenter in Bangladesh Betar (Radio Bangladesh) and enlisted Drama Artist in Bangladesh Television.

    Professor Norio Okada’s brief biography is available here

    Mr Mihir Bhatt’s brief biography is available here.  


    International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, IFRC. (2014) World Disasters Report 2014: Focus on culture and risk. Available at: (Downloaded on: 11 November 2020)