Lecture by Dr Kumanan Rasanathan on “Primary Health Care Research Frontiers in the Era of Polycrisis”


Lecture on May 10


The School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong will be hosting a lecture by Dr Kumanan Rasanathan, Executive Director of Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research of the World Health Organization (WHO), on “Primary Health Care Research Frontiers in the Era of Polycrisis”. Details are as follows:


Speaker:    Dr Kumanan Rasanathan, Executive Director of Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, WHO
Date:   May 10, 2024 (Friday)
Time:  16:00 – 17:15
Venue:  Faculty Boardroom, Daniel & Mayce Yu Administration Wing, Faculty of Medicine Building, 21 Sassoon Road (view map)        
Format:  In-person only


Speaker Bio
Dr Kumanan Rasanathan currently serves as the Executive Director of the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. He is a public health physician with a strong background in health policy and systems research and extensive experience working at different levels of the WHO and within the wider UN system. During his almost 25 years working in health systems, career highlights have included serving as Incident Manager for WHO for the COVID-19 response in Cambodia, helping to drive the development of the Sustainable Development Goal health agenda while at UNICEF, contributing to the work of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health, co-writing the 2008 WHO World Health Report on primary health care, and running meningococcal vaccine trials that enabled vaccine licensure and roll-out in New Zealand.

About the Lecture
Primary health care, first codified in Alma-Ata in 1978, remains a beacon for the orientation of health systems to many. Yet in this era of polycrises and rapid change, it is reasonable to question whether its principles are sufficient to meet today’s health challenges. Dr Rasanathan will reflect on the state of primary health care and health systems today and required research, considering the following questions:

  1. What disconnects and failings have recent crises revealed in health systems, and what research capacity is required to address these failings to better manage and prevent crises?
  2. How can we better mobilise interdisciplinary research in the context of emergencies to enact a primary health care approach?
  3. What is the evidence that lessons have been learned related to shortfalls in primary care and research during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  4. What frameworks should be employed to guide response to emergencies and crises; and to guide primary health care evidence needs?

  5. To what extent is the global health workforce crisis constraining primary care delivery and research in this era of polycrises?

  6. What are the specific strategies that the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research is advocating and funding to strengthen primary health care in emergencies?

Please register here by May 8, 2024 (Wednesday) at 11am.

A confirmation email will be sent to successful registrants.

For enquiries, please email sphevent@hku.hk.