Skip to main content
McMaster University Menu Search

Global health alumna Himani Bhatnagar: Working to eradicate tuberculosis and improve access to medicines

MSc Global Health alumna Himani Bhatnagar

MSc Global Health alumna Himani Bhatnagar is working with the UN to meet the global commitment of Sustainable Development Goal 3, which includes the eradication of tuberculosis, and other communicable diseases that exist predominantly in low- and middle-income countries.


February 27, 2019

Despite being a curable and preventable disease, tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide – a reality that Himani Bhatnagar is working to change. The MSc Global Health program alumna is currently a program consultant with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), working with the HIV, Health and Development Team in Bangkok, on a project called the Access and Delivery Partnership (ADP).

Bhatnagar first became interested in tuberculosis through her advocacy work with Friends of MSF (Doctors Without Borders), an organization she became involved with while completing a Bachelor of Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

“I felt a strong sense of injustice when I learnt that TB is curable and preventable, yet kills millions of people, 95% of whom live in low-and middle-income countries,” says Bhatnagar.

The project she’s now working on supports low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) to strengthen capacities to introduce and scale up new health technologies — medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics — for TB, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases. Her role involves conducting research, communications, and organizing global and regional meetings with government stakeholders and partners, including the WHO.

 Bhatnagar was born and grew up in India until she was 9 years old, when her family relocated first to Malaysia, then to Vancouver, Canada when she was 12.

“Perhaps the constant exposure to people from all walks of life and disparities in healthcare is what sparked my interest in global health and equity,” says Bhatnagar, whose strong ties to her Indian heritage are evidenced in her work and research. Her Global Health program thesis reviewed patient perspectives on TB care in India. For her practicum, she worked at a small, private hospital in Mumbai supporting low-income families of the nearby Dharavi slum.

“Thanks to the Global Health program I’ve been able to supplement my research with real-life experience, and I’ve had the incredible opportunity towork closely with researchers at the McGill International TB Centre,” Bhatnagar says. She is currently drafting a manuscript for publication in the coming months to highlight her findings on the value of patient perspectives when planning improvements in the quality of TB care. 

Ultimately Bhatnagar wants to play an active role in meeting the global commitment of Sustainable Development Goal 3, which includes the eradication of tuberculosis, and other communicable diseases that exist predominantly in LMICs. “I believe they have no place in a world where we have the knowledge, tools and programs to prevent and cure them, so we must strengthen health systems, provide patient-centered care, and address inequality to reach those goals,” she says. “Agenda 2030 is just 11 years away and there’s much work to be done.”