Jyotsna’s main focus of work revolves around increasing access and availability of drugs and medical supplies in developing countries through supply chain strengthening and capacity building of governments and local organisations. An example of the projects she manages concerns the control of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the highly volatile region of Northern Nigeria.
Through mass drug administration, capacity building of state and local governments and raising public awareness, the project aims to curb the spread of these diseases that cause loss of livelihood, disfigurement, stigma, disability and poverty. Jyotsna acts as Project Manager for this 3 year project (project completes in Oct 2016) and manages a team of technical experts on the ground. Through their efforts, the project has managed to distribute over 6 million NTDs treatments and train over 5,000 community health workers and teachers. Jyotsna spoke about the importance of control of NTDs at the UN headquarters in Copenhagen at the Global Health Summit in 2014.
For the past 6 years, Jyotsna has worked with Crown Agents based in the UK on a wide array of projects towards larger goals of economic growth and poverty alleviation. She worked on and managed projects in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Nigeria, Burma and Sierra Leone.
UWC Mahindra College has played a pivotal role in influencing Jyotsna’s life choices, including career path. It was through the curriculum, her teacher’s influence and most importantly her peers, that Jyotsna was introduced to critical thinking, challenging the status quo and contributions to community development. UWC Mahindra College played a seminal role in shaping Jyotsna’s ideas on how she wants to engage and contribute meaningfully to the communities she is a part of.
After graduating from UWC Mahindra College in 2004, Jyotsna went on to study politics at Whitman College in Washington state and then International Management at King’s College London. Both the degrees were relevant to her pursuit to work in the international development sector.
Another example of her work is her involvement on the British Government’s response to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. This project helped set up and operationalise all seven Ebola Treatment Centres (ETCs)in Sierra Leone. Jyotsna’s role on the project is generating and analysing vital data to ensure the all the ETCs never experience a “stock out” as that could result in the loss of lives, In total, the project sourced a catalogue of 1,358 items, including drugs, personal protection equipment crucial for ETC workers, laboratory supplies, infrastructure etc. – all of which have been vital in the fight against the disease. And the proof of its impact is in the figures: at the peak of the outbreak in November 2014, more than 500 cases of Ebola were being confirmed in Sierra Leone every week – now that figure has dropped to as low as just three cases in a week. Sierra Leone is working towards zero cases of Ebola by August 2015 and through her team and her effort’s, Jyotsna is going to be continuing to help them achieve that.
Jyotsna Shivanandan (UWCMC, ’04)