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South Asia: the public health response to COVID-19

Hosted by The South Asia Centre, the Institute of Global Affairs and the School of Public Policy



Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury

Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury

Vice Chair of BRAC, Dhaka, and an alumnus of LSE

Professor K Srinath Reddy

President, Public Health Foundation of India

Dr Faisal Sultan

Dr Faisal Sultan

CEO, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Lahore

Discussant: Dr Mishal S Khan

Discussant: Dr Mishal S Khan

Associate Professor in Health Policy, LSHTM and Honorary faculty, Aga Khan University, Pakistan


Dr Mukulika Banerjee

Dr Mukulika Banerjee

Director, LSE South Asia Centre, and Associate Professor in Anthropology at LSE

Most discussions and analyses of the COVID-19 crisis in South Asia have focused on general political, economic, social, logistical challenges and citizens’ response, along with the dissemination of information relevant to local areas. This panel will examine public health policies and infrastructural facilities with experts from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, focusing particularly on factors that identify particular national challenges; difficulties of executing policy in federal political systems; political, economic and other obstacles confronting public health initiatives; and finally, what the immediate future looks like in these countries and the region as a whole, and what respective governments can do in addressing specific hurdles to mitigate further spread and another spike of COVID-19.

Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury is former Vice Chair of BRAC, Dhaka, and an alumnus of LSE. He is also a professor of Population and Family Health at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University, New York. During 2009-2012, he served as a senior advisor and acting Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation, based in Bangkok, Thailand. He also worked as a MacArthur/Bell Fellow at Harvard University.

 Professor K Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India. Prof. Reddy formerly headed the Department of Cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He was appointed as the First Bernard Lown Visiting Professor of Cardiovascular Health at the Harvard School of Public Health in (2009-13) and presently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard (2014-2023). He is also an Adjunct Professor of the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University and Honorary Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney.

Dr Faisal Sultan (@fslsltn), CEO, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Lahore. He is also a Consultant Physician of Medicine and Infectious Diseases. On 25 March 2020, he was appointed by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan as the PM’s lead in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. He was given responsibility of creating a group of experts who have provided recommendations on improving Pakistan’s coronavirus response to channel solutions to the government’s National Coordination Committee.

Dr Mishal S Khan (@DrMishalK), Associate Professor in Health Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Honorary faculty, Aga Khan University, Pakistan. Dr Khan is a social epidemiologist and specialist in improving health systems and policies to control infectious diseases in South and Southeast Asia. In addition to a PhD and MSc from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Khan holds an MA in Natural Sciences from The University of Cambridge. She serves as an editor for leading journals Health Policy and Planning and BMC Public Health, and is an associate fellow at the Chatham House Global Health Programme.

Dr Mukulika Banerjee (@MukulikaB), Director, LSE South Asia Centre, and Associate Professor in Anthropology at LSE. Her current research interests are on the cultural meanings of democracy. She is currently completing a manuscript based on 15 years of engagement with a village in India to explain the sources of democratic thinking in Indian social life. She is the author of Why India Votes? (Routledge 2014), The Pathan Unarmed: Opposition and Memory in the Northwest Frontier (James Currey, 2001), and co-author of The Sari (Berg, 2003).

Richa Udayana is the Student Leader for this thematic session. She is Masters in Public Administration (MPA) candidate at LSE. 

The South Asia Centre (@SAsiaLSE) forefronts the LSE’s world-class multidisciplinary expertise on the countries of the region, and the region as a whole as it rises to become an economic and political powerhouse in the 21st century. Established in 2015, the Centre has harnessed the energy of this expertise, and galvanised everyone to think individually and collectively about the region – through its events, Fellowships, conferences, blogposts, Working Papers, and other opportunities.

The Institute of Global Affairs (@LSEIGA) aims to maximise the impact of LSE's leading expertise across the social sciences by shaping inclusive and locally-rooted responses to the most important and pressing global challenges.

The School of Public Policy (@LSEPublicPolicy) is an international community where ideas and practice meet. Our approach creates professionals with the ability to analyse, understand and resolve the challenges of contemporary governance.

This event is part of the Maryam Forum Launch: "From Rulership to Leadership: Early Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic".

View the full programme here.

The Maryam Forum is a new multi-year platform aiming to encourage the shift towards evidence-informed, transparent, accountable and inclusive leadership. Introduced on the global stage in Davos during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in January 2020, Maryam Forum is a collaboration between policy makers, academics, business leaders and media that engages the LSE across departments and disciplines. Together with our students – the leaders of tomorrow – we will convene Maryam Co-Labs, leading up to our first annual Global Conference in December. From climate change, health crises and other global emergencies, to industrial policy, populism and migration, these year-round working groups will tackle the most urgent challenges of our time - providing opportunities to exchange expertise and shape solutions, and unlocking the potential for inclusive and sustainable leadership across all regions of the world.

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