Making a difference: Dr. Sakiko Yasuda

Dr. Sakiko Yasuda earned her doctorate in public health (DrPH) from UH Mānoa in May 2016. A Japanese national, her studies were supported by the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship and the Matsuda Sano Fellowship.

Since graduation, she has been working at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO) in Bangkok, Thailand. EAPRO is one of seven UNICEF Regional Offices in the world and a hub for information, technical expertise, and coordination for UNICEF Country Offices in the region.

She is a junior professional officer on the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) team. In the region, millions of children do not have access to clean water and/or they do not have knowledge of basic sanitation skills. Many children die from preventable diseases before the age of 5.

Dr. Yasuda’s work involves collecting and analyzing WASH-related data from every country in the region. From this, she is able to publish reports on the situation, to learn about creative interventions, and to evaluate the success of efforts to improve sanitation in the region. On a recent trip to Indonesia, she visited schools with newly built toilets and water stations. Students and teachers were thrilled with their access to clean water and hand washing facilities, and she expects to see an increase in attendance and decrease in infectious diseases as a result.

As an “ex-patriot” living in the region, she is careful to respect the diversity of peoples, cultures, environments, economies, political systems, religions and social norms. She says, “Making a difference in the world requires the effort of many people on many levels. Working together, we will find ways to improve the lives of our children and hopefully make them happier and healthier. I continually strive to make this a reality. Even a small step can make a difference to the world’s most disadvantaged children.”

University of Hawai‘i Alumni