The Saeed Awan Lecture
“Immersive Occupational Health:
An innovative approach to reaching rural workers”
Presented by: Dua Awan and Abdul Rehman Alvi, M.D
October 26, 2023
9:00 a.m. EDT, 13:00 UTC, 18:00 Lahore (Pakistan)
Workers in traditional rural industries and international supply chains seldom receive much occupational health attention. Saeed Awan took this as a challenge. As head of the Center for Improvement of Working Conditions and Environment (CIWCE) in Lahore Pakistan from 1988 until his work-related death in 2014 he reached out to workers in a wide range of local industries: makers of palm mats, soccer balls, surgical instruments, leather goods, and hand-made brick; stone crushers, rag-pickers and garbage collectors; livestock raisers and date palm and cotton farmers; servers in tea stalls and car repairers. He was convinced that occupational risks could be greatly reduced with surprisingly simple means such as low-cost adaptations to traditional tools (e.g. carpet looms) and cartoon-based pamphlets. Word of his experience brought Awan into policy-making forums both within Pakistan and internationally where he was particularly known for his success in addressing child labour in hazardous occupations.
Saeed`s determination and his quiet, practical and culturally-sensitive approach to occupational health and safety has been an inspiration to WHWB and laid the foundation for its Working Groups on Brick Factories and Young Workers.