Alexander Messent Cairncross OBE (born 8 March 1948) is an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He has an interest in environmental interventions for disease control, including both technical issues and policy.
He is a public health engineer by profession and an epidemiologist by vocation. Most of his career has been spent in research and teaching, and about a third in developing countries implementing water, sanitation and public health programmes. His experience includes building water supplies in Lesotho, and seven years as a water and sanitation engineer for the Government of Mozambique, shortly after that country's independence.
Sandy is Research Director of the DFID-funded SHARE Research Consortium, whose aim is applied research on sanitation & hygiene, with partners WaterAid, Shack Dwellers International, the International Institute for Environment and Development, and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh.
He is also Deputy Director of the African SNOWS Consortium to build research capacity of six African universities in water, sanitation & environmental health.
In January 2014, Cairncross was awarded the Edwin Chadwick Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the advancement of public health.
Writing and research
He has worked on or contributed to a number of books, including a textbook on environmental health engineering in the tropics.
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