CGHH Hosts Sri Lankan Ministry of Health Official

Posted on 30 April 2018

A report on Dr Lakshmi C. Somatunga’s official visit to the University of York for Global Health Histories seminar 104.

On 24th April CGHH was delighted to host Dr Lakshmi C. Somatunga (Deputy Director General (Medical Services(I)), Ministry of Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine, Sri Lanka) at the University of York.

Dr Somatunga was in York as an expert panellist for WHO Global Health Histories Seminar 104: ‘Tobacco Control - Histories & Current Global Challenges’. Following introductions by Dr Nils Fietje (WHO Regional Office for Europe), Dr Somatunga’s presentation drew on her previous experience as the Director/Non Communicable Diseases in Sri Lanka, when she helped launch initiatives such as the Tobacco Control Programme and Injury Prevention Programme for the Ministry of Health. Her talk also explored the history of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Sri Lanka’s role in this first ever public health treaty, and the present day challenges of tobacco control. Following these fascinating insights, Dr Somatunga took questions from the audience keen to discuss the issues at hand along with her co-presenter, the University of York’s own Professor Kamran Siddiqi who delivered an equally memorable talk on smokeless tobacco products.

Dr Somatunga at Global Health Histories Seminar 104. Credit: University of York/ Alex Holland

As part of her official visit, Dr Somatunga also discussed research and opportunities for future collaboration with staff and students in the Departments of History and Health Sciences. Dr Somatunga’s visit is part of a wide-ranging strengthening of links between CGHH (which is also the WHO Collaborating Centre for Global Health Histories) and South Asian governance for national and international health, with a view to democratizing participation in consultations, making access to delivery more equitable, and making inter-sectoral action more transparent and ethical. We would like to extend Dr Somatunga our heartfelt thanks for an absorbing lecture, and for making the time to meet with so many colleagues, despite her busy schedule.

Professor Siddiqi and Dr Somatunga prepare to take questions from the audience. Credit: University of York/ Alex Holland

The full recording of Global Health Histories Seminar 104, featuring the presentations by Dr Somatunga and Professor Siddiqi, will available online very soon on the Centre for Global Health Histories’ YouTube channel.

Dr Somatunga meets staff and students at CGHH

Interested to find out more? You can also access Dr Somatunga’s presentation on ‘Combating Antimicrobial Resistance in Tertiary Care Settings in Sri Lanka’, delivered at Global Health Histories Seminar 102, via the Centre for Global Health Histories’ YouTube channel.