Research Faculty


Professor Equity & Empowerment (Public Health)


  • M.P.H. Johns Hopkins University
  • M.B.B.B., King George Medical College, Lucknow University (India)
Rita Thapa, a public health physician from Nepal, had led Nepal Government’s Family Planning and Maternal and Child Health (FP-MCH) project as its first chief at the time of virtual absence of health infrastructure, especially human resources of any kind. She pioneered the training and mobilization of community-based female health workers to reach out the rural mothers and children. Later she headed the Integrated Community Health services Development Project, Nepal’s Primary Health Care Project, and led in establishing a countrywide network of Integrated District Health System consisting of district health offices, health posts, Village Health Workers, Mothers’ Groups, and Female Community Health Volunteers. She is one of the few people still living who attended the 1978 International Conference on Primary Health Care at Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, as a Nepal’s delegate and signing the Alma-Ata Declaration. She was a keynote speaker on the 40th anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in September 2018. She worked in several WHO offices from, becoming the first woman Department Director in the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. She has received several honors and decorations for her commendable contribution in public health. Recently, she is honored as WHO 75 Health Champion, Nepal Her latest published research was addressed to changing NCD mortality associated risk behaviors among school adolescents in Nepal, which has won 2023 Health Minister Bloomberg Public Health Award.
Research Publications and Presentations
  • Thapa R, Subedi RK, Regmi G, Thapaliya R, Vaidya A, Karki BB. Self-Reported Changes in Risk Behaviours of Cardiovascular Diseases among School Adolescents in Nepal: Application of an Integrated Experiential Learning Approach. Global Heart. 2020;15(1):40. DOI:
  • Thapa R. Changing Public Health Paradigm: Improving Maternal Child Health and Family Planning. Fifth Public Health Foundation Lecture. Nepal Public Health Foundation; 2014 June 30.
  • Thapa, R. (2003). Manpower Development For MAternal-Child Health And Family Planning Program A- Neplese Case Study. Journal of Nepal Medical Association, 11(4), 109–126.
  • Thapa R, Karki B. A case study on Current MDG Status in a selected poorest community in Nepal 2011. Sasakawa Peace Foundation;Tokyo 2011 August 10
  • Thapa R. Integrated Health Care Delivery System Nepali Perspectives: Souvenir 23 rd All Nepal Medical Conference of All Nepal Medical Association Association 2007 November 1.
  • “Health Sector Strategy-An Agenda for Reform, Nepal”, Proceedings of the Third Global Symposium on Health and Welfare Systems Development in the 21 st Century, 6-8 November 2002.
  • “Health and Welfare Systems: A Regional Overview”, Report of the Global Symposium on Health and Welfare Systems Development in the Twenty-first
    Century, Kobe, Japan, 1-3 November 2000.
  • “Making Pregnancy Safer: A Health Sector Strategy for Reducing Maternal and Perinatal Morbidity and Mortality”, Proceedings of the World Congress on Women’s Health, organized by the Federation of the Obstetrics and Gynecological Societies of India [FOGSI], Calcutta, 10-12 November 2000.
  • WHO Perspectives on Making Pregnancy Safer: A Health Sector Strategy for Reducing Maternal and Perinatal Mortality in the SEAR Context”, Proceedings of the Conference of Indian Medical Association “ACADIMA 2000”, New Delhi, 20-22 October 2000.
  • Safe Motherhood: Progress and Perspectives”, Proceedings of the 43 rd All India Congress of Obstetrics & Gynecology of FOGSI, King George’s Medical College, Lucknow, India, 27-30 December 1999.
  • Women’s Participation and Perspectives in Health Issues”, discussion notes prepared for the Expert Group Meeting on Population and Women, Gaborone, 22-26 June 1992.
  • Technical contribution to WHO’s “Women’s Health: Across Age and Frontiers”, the background document for WHO Technical Discussions on Women, Health and Development, Geneva, 1992.
  • Technical contribution to WHO’s “Health Dimension of Economic Reform”, the background document for the International Forum on Health: A Conditionality for Economic Development – Breaking the Cycle of Poverty and Inequity, Accra, Ghana, 4-6 December 1991.
  • Co-authored “A Preliminary Report on Prevention of Typhoid Fever in Nepal With the Vi-Capsular Polysaccharide of Salmonella Typhi”, New England Journal of Medicine, October 1987.
  • Role of Traditional Medicine in the Demand of Supply of Rural Health Services”, proceedings of the Regional Seminar on the Use of Rural Health Services, Asian Development Bank, Manila, 24-25 January 1986.
  • Diarrheal Diseases Research Study: Preliminary Findings on the Feasibility of Homemade Oral Rehydration Solution”, an article published by WHO Chronicle, 1980.
  • Nepali Child in the Perspective of Health Programs in 1980s”, a paper presented at the Nepal Medical Association, International Year of Child Seminar “The Child in Nepal”, 14 December 1979.
  • Primary Health Care in the Nepalese Context”, a paper co-authored with Dixit and Smith, proceedings of the 8 th All Nepal Medical Conference, 1977.
    Women in Nepal”, an article published by the Rising Nepal, 1974.
  • Development of Health Manpower for FP and MCH Program”, a case study published by All Nepal Medical Association Journal, Nepal, 1974.
  • Country Profile of Nepal, Daniel Taylor and Rita Thapa, Country Profiles, The population Council, April 1972 Managerial Aspects of Family Planning and MCH program in Nepal, Proceedings of the 4 th All Nepal Medical Association Meeting, 1968.