On 3 November 2022, on behalf of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC), the British Council in India and the Association of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows (ACSF) delivered a panel discussion on the CSC development theme, ‘Strengthening health systems and capacity’.

The event was organised to welcome Emma Green, Deputy Director, Scholarships, Tertiary Education and Partnerships, UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), during a visit to India.

The importance of good health and wellbeing

The event opened with a welcome note from Rittika Chanda Parruck, Director Education India, British Council. Emma Green delivered the keynote address in which she highlighted that ‘Commonwealth Scholarships is the only scholarship where development is in the heart, and FCDO believes in investing in those individuals’. She shared that during the event and her visit to India she was excited to learn more about the impact and achievements made by Commonwealth Alumni following their studies.

The keynote was followed by a panel discussion on the topic of health systems in India. The panellists included: Professor Atul Goel, Director General of Health Services; Chandrika Bahadur, Chair of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission India Task Force; and Dr Suneela Garg, Director, Professor and Head, Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College & Associated Hospitals. The panel discussion was moderated by Commonwealth Alumnus Dr Dhruva Chaudhry (2009 Academic Fellow), President of ACSF and Senior Professor and Chair, Department of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine at PGIMS, Rohtak.

Panellists discussed the long-term and ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways in which this has highlighted the need to strengthen the healthcare system in India, and systems globally. They also discussed the importance of providing enhanced support and training for healthcare workers.

The discussion concluded with a Q&A session followed by networking.