Centre for International Health
In Memory of Meera Chhagan

A beloved professor has passed away

Professor Meera Chhagan died Friday 29th August 2014 after an accident.

Meera Chhagan

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Chhagan was working  as a part of the scientific staff at Centre for International Health  at the University of Bergen in the period from February to August 2014.In August she returned to South Africa where she lived with her husband. She was a strong scientific member at CIH, as well as kind and considerate. She will be deeply missed. This is a major loss for CIH. We give our condolences to her husband, familiy and collegues in South Africa.

-Staff at Centre for International Health

Meera Chhagan was born in 1967.  She was a paediatrician and epidemiologist based in South Africa. She graduated in 1991 as MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) at the University of Natal, Durban. Afterwards she was specializing in pediatrics and nutritional epidemiology. She had a PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology at Tufts University, Boston, USA from 2009.

Before she came to Norway, she had been working for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health. She was a researcher and honorary lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her main area of research was in child health, specifically nutrition, infection, and psychosocial health. She had just moved to Cape Town to work at the University of Western Cape.

Dr. Chhagan was also deeply involved in HIV research. Her current and upcoming projects address the metabolic and nutritional effects of antiretroviral therapy in children; the validation of bio-impedance for determination of body composition in HIV-infected South African children; and health and psychosocial needs of children with developmental disorders in a time of HIV.

As a clinician, she managed a tertiary referral service for children with infectious disease and/or HIV and is also becoming involved in strengthening programs for HIV prevention and treatment. She was recently part of a team that conducted a qualitative study examining the effects of HIV/AIDS and antiretroviral therapy on the educational experience of children in their foundation phase and early school years with the aim of developing recommendations.

Dr. Chhagan collaborated with interdisciplinary teams of researchers based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, SA; Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, NY; Tufts University, MA; University of West Indies, Jamaica; and Oxford University, UK – as well as the University of Bergen.

At CIH in Bergen she worked as a full faculty member; performing teaching, supervision and research. The students were very pleased with her work. As for research, she worked with nutritional epidemiology, especially important for the project “GrowNut” at CIH, a competence building project in Democratic Republic of Congo. We had many plans for future cooperation with her.