May 15, 2019

Klaus Krickeberg honored in Vietnam

On the 16th of July 2018 the President of Vietnam awarded IMS Fellow Klaus Krickeberg the Friend of Vietnam Medal for “positive essential contributions to the development of the Vietnamese health sector.”

Klaus has worked in Vietnam since the 1980s in the research, teaching and practice of Public Health. He explained how his work uses probability theory and mathematical statistics: “Clinical trials to evaluate the action of medical treatments in populations are based on statistical models. The same is true for estimating the efficacy of preventive measures, for example vaccinations. Statistical models also allow the analysis of risk factors for non- infectious diseases like obesity, diabetes, various degenerative ailments and most forms of cancer. Smoking and alcohol are ‘classical’ risk factors; now environmental and nutritional factors and lack of physical exercise are the center of attention. The stochastic methods for dealing with infectious diseases are very different: they rest on stochastic modeling of the evolution of a disease, for example of a measles epidemic, in a given population. With its help we can estimate the smallest coverage by a vaccination of known efficacy that will lead to extinction of the disease. Nowadays planning a vaccination campaign is mainly an affair of stochastic modeling. Few people in the health sciences are aware of this particular aspect of this dichotomy, infectious disease versus non-infectious disease. It has important implications in organizing measures to control their evolution.”

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