14:00 - Welcome
- Knut Nyfløt | Department Director of Global Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH)
- Jeanette H. Magnus | Director, Centre for Global Health, University of Oslo (UiO)
14:05 - Lessons from Kerala’s response to COVID-19: a development and social equity perspective | Prof. V.K. Ramachandran, Vice Chairperson of the Kerala State Planning Board
14:35 - Equity impacts of the pandemic in Norway | Hege Marie Gjefsen, Department Director of Health Services Research, NIPH
14:45 - Short comments, questions and discussion
- Prof. Kalle Moene | Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics & Leader of the Centre of Equality, Social Organization and Performance (ESOP), UiO
- Esperanza Diaz | Professor & Director, Pandemic Center, University of Bergen
About this seminar
Kerala, the southwestern coastal state in India, is widely recognized for its impressive health and social indicators, which has been comparable to high-income countries. Kerala was among the first settings outside China that experienced entry of the coronavirus. During the early stages of the pandemic in Spring 2020 Kerala’s response was widely lauded for containing the first wave of transmission. With subsequent variants and increasing transmissibility, as well as the need to balance the benefits and harms of extended lockdowns, Kerala too has endured successive spells of widespread COVID-19 transmission.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed how a health crisis can evolve to become a social and economic crisis. To manage these impacts, the response from governments worldwide needed whole of society approaches and collaboration across sectors. The pandemic also reinforced the crucial role of public trust in enhancing the effectiveness of public health and social measures, and the need to pay special attention to the needs of vulnerable populations.
The seminar will examine how Kerala managed these issues. Specifically, it will examine how Kerala prepared for and managed the wider societal consequences of the pandemic, including impacts of non-pharmaceutical interventions like lockdowns on education for children and youth, income loss, food security and impacts on vulnerable populations and inequalities. Prof. Ramachandran’s talk will be followed by short commentaries from Norwegian experts and time for questions and discussion.
About Prof. V.K. Ramachandran
Prof. V.K. Ramachandran is a renowned development economist and currently the Vice Chairperson of the Kerala State Planning Board. He was previously Professor and Head in the Economic Analysis Unit of Indian Statistical Institute in Bangalore. His areas of study has covered a broad range of issues in development economics: agrarian questions and agrarian relations; rural development; issues of labour and workers in the Indian economy; and class, caste, tribe, and gender discrimination and other forms of social oppression in India. He has also written extensively on Kerala’s development achievements, including a contribution to a volume edited by Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen, which can be read here.
The Kerala State Planning Board is an advisory board under the Kerala Government, constituted with the Chief Minister as the Chairman. It assists the Kerala Government in formulating a development plan based on a review of the resources available to the state and play a critical role in monitoring and evaluating the Kerala state’s performance on a wide range of development areas.
This seminar is organized jointly by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Centre for Global Health at the University of Oslo. The seminar is hosted in conjunction with the official visit of Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to Norway between October 5-7.