The 2016 Lecture was delivered by Prof Sundararaman from the School of Health Systems Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India. Dr Sundararaman, a former professor of medicine and activist in the People’s Health Movement in India, spoke on the topic “Public Health Systems. What Works – What does Not?” and the important challenges that face societies and governments alike in the Global South.
He addressed a wide ranging set of issues covering the theoretical frameworks which determine health systems, their policy formulations and implementation successes and challenges. He drew comparisons from country experiences in Nepal, Thailand, India and South Africa on, among others, the delivery of private and public health services, community health workers, medicine stockouts and community engagement. The audience, drawn from government, students, academics and civil society, paid careful attention to his views on the South African initiative to launch its National Health Insurance and his advice to learn from other contexts.
"There is a need to re-imagine and re-present the case for a National Health Services with or without a National Health Insurance – where it is the organization of service delivery that is the key- and method of financing it is but one component of it." Prof Sundararaman