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Health policy experts to thrash out challenges facing S Asia

| | New Delhi

India’s top health experts, policy makers and administrators will take part in a three-day brainstorming event in Goa between December 10 and 12 to discuss crucial health issues facing South Asia. The second edition of the Difficult Dialogue series will focus on the question: “Is India’s Health a Grand Challenge?”

This year, the forum will be held in partnership with UCL (University College London) a world-leading university that combines its research excellence across all disciplines to tackle the most pressing global challenges of the 21st century. Renowned health policy experts and anthropologists from UCL such as Professor Marie Lall, Professor Monica Lakhanpaul and Dr Sushrut Jadhav will be amongst the speakers at the conference. Through engaging panel discussions, the speakers will grapple with crucial issues of public health budgets, cancer, disease, mental health, and health technology.

India spends less than one and a half per cent of its GDP on public health. This is a fraction of the amount that other developing countries allocate in their budgets. With this in mind, a top priority of Difficult Dialogues 2017 will be to firmly position Health on the political agenda of the Indian Government.

Among the highlights will be Health Secretary CK Mishra discussing the options in terms of healthcare funding and actress Manisha Koirala - prominent women’s rights activist and cancer survivor - discussing treatment in India and abroad;

To capture the voice of students, the forum is also opening up the debate to India’s universities by sponsoring Daring Debates, an intensive college debate series about the ‘Medical Oath - A Moral Compass No More,’ which runs parallel to Difficult Dialogues. This year, medical students from Delhi, Goa, Pondicherry, Lucknow and Guwahati - are invited to compete in teams of two with the winning teams from each city being given the chance to battle it out at the grand finale. Aside from the prizes on offer, this will allow the views of our future medical leaders to be considered by experts and peers - an integral part of the forum’s inclusive dialogue.

Difficult Dialogues was created by philanthropist Surina Narula, a veteran NGO founder - responsible, amongst other achievements, for establishing the internationally lauded Consortium for Street Children - with the intent to bring together leaders from across the spectrum of international society to meet and find equitable solutions to South Asia’s most pressing priorities. Commenting on

Difficult Dialogues 2017, Anil Gupta, Chairman of its Steering Committee said: “Difficult Dialogues aims at providing a forum for individuals, organizations, think-tanks, media, government and policy makers to get together and debate themes of contemporary relevance in South Asia. This year the vision is to explore the challenges that India faces in creating conditions for good health and access to healthcare for all citizens.”

Last year’s forum was held in cooperation with the world famous social sciences institute, the London School of Economics . It debated critical areas such as India’s global financial position, internal social developments and international relations. Panel discussions were leavened with appearances from a sprinkling of film stars and famous personalities, each of whom delivered eloquent, humorous, yet profound insights. Coinciding with stimulating panel debates, vivid illustrated lectures were hosted by internationally renowned author Amitav Ghosh and experienced activist Srdja Popovic - the combination of activism, policy, art and entertainment made this a very different experience from your everyday conference. 

 
 
 

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