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Research Project - The Local Bases of Global Health

Full title: ‘The Local Bases of Global Health: Primary Health Care in South Asia and Beyond, 1945-2010’ (Wellcome Trust Grant No. 097737/Z/11/Z). This project forms a detailed study of the global movement for primary health care (PHC), which represented a most ambitious effort to expand health coverage fairly around the world. This study will afford new perspectives into the development of PHC alongside existing universal healthcare structures in South Asia. The programme of research will examine the provision of universal healthcare within India, Ceylon/Sri Lanka and Bangladesh; it will also look at the impact of the transnational spread of ideas as a result of work carried out by global health agencies in South Asia.

The project began on 1st October 2012. It is led by Professor Sanjoy Bhattacharya, and supported by his Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award, an award designed to support world-class scholars in established academic posts asking the most important questions at the interface of science, medicine and the humanities.‌

For all Publications linked to this project, please see the CGHH Publications webpage.

WHO Headquarters photograph

The core project team comprised Professor Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Dr Margaret Jones, Dr Monica Saavedra and Dr Alexander Medcalf. Dr Jones researched the development of primary health care services and the impact of international initiatives in Sri Lanka, 1950-2000. She explored how this commitment by the new nation was operationalised through a history of its primary health care facilities from 1950 to the present. This also included an examination of the complex interactions between local and national actors and with the global initiatives of the World Health Organisation. Dr Saavedra examined the development of the structures of primary health care in Goa, with special reference to the interactions between the Portuguese and Indian Governments, and the World Health Organization's Headquarters and Regional Offices.

*The project featured in the Wellcome Trust Annual Review 2012. A downloadable copy of the full report is available via the Wellcome Trust’s website.

*Read a research update (August 2015) from Dr Margaret Jones on her research into the development of primary health care services and the impact of international initiatives in Sri Lanka.

*Access ‘Health for All: The Journey to Universal Health Coverage’ (published by Orient BlackSwanMay 2015), a publication based on the 2014 World Health Organization Global Health Histories seminar series on the history of primary health care and universal health coverage

*Watch Monica Saavedra's interview with Rádio e Televisão de Portugal about her work on the history of healthcare in Goa from 1920 to 1987.

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Professor Sanjoy Bhattacharya,
Director, Centre for Global Health Histories
Department of History
University of York
York, YO10 5DD
Tel: Internal 2979, External (01904) 322979