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'Strengthening and Widening Health Management' Training Seminar

Posted on 14 September 2017

A report on Prof. Sanjoy Bhattacharya's training seminar in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

On 7 September, Professor Sanjoy Bhattacharya delivered an afternoon training seminar titled, ‘Strengthening and Widening Health Management: History, International Relations and Medical Humanities as tools for increasing information and relevance of government policy’ to staff from the College of Medical administrators of Sri Lanka. The event was organised by the University of York in collaboration with the College of Medical Administrators of Sri Lanka, held at the Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka. 

The training followed Global Health Histories (GHH) Seminar 102 ‘Strengthening Universal Health Coverage for the fight against Anti-Microbial Resistance’, held earlier in the day, involved attendees at GHH 102, including officials from all ranks of Sri Lankan Government, including medical and public health administrators from across the country, and sixty medical administrators from around Sri Lanka, who are in the process of moving into senior administrative roles after completing their MD training in specialist subjects.

Colombo Training Seminar Group Photograph

The training was built around sessions explaining how the study of recent history can be used critically to collect information about the political and social complexities of health campaigns, as well as the multi-faceted social and cultural responses to these interventions. Drawing upon Prof. Bhattacharya's work on the formation and expansion of the World Health Organization, the worldwide eradication of smallpox, and the connections between the international and national explications about how primary healthcare could promote the provision of universal health coverage, the training session involved a mixture of presentations and practical breakout sessions. The latter involved attendees being divided by specialty and then being shown how to problematise the recent history of the work of their Departments through peer interviews. Attention was paid to issues of institutional and individual bias, the dangers of retrospective diagnoses, the challenges of US- and Euro-centricism, and the importance of using correct ethical frameworks and protections, as well as multiple languages relevant to the geographical areas being studied.

The feedback received from the Government of Sri Lanka has been exceptionally positive, and an agreement has been reached regarding the provision of similar training workshops over the coming years. The WHO CC would like to extend heartfelt thanks to all involved in the planning and running of this event, including College of Medical Administrators of Sri Lanka, the WHO Regional Office for Europe, The University of York's Department of History, and the Wellcome Trust.

You can find more information about Prof. Bhattacharya’s ongoing research and other external activities here