Greater involvement of Anthropological, social and political sciences are essential in controlling disease outbreaks, said Dr.Richard A. Cash, delivering a lecture organised by the School of Medical Sciences at the University.

Dr.Cash is an American global health researcher and Prince Mahidol medal winner. He holds the positions of Senior lecturer in International Health and Director of the program on Ethical issues in international Health in the Department of Global Health and Population of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. He is also a visiting professor at the Public health foundation of India.


While delivering the lecture titled ‘Bats, Viruses, and People: Lessons from recent outbreaks of Ebola and Nipah’ Dr.Cash stressed upon the need for a multi disciplinary approaches and the need for understanding the socio cultural practices of local communities in containing the outbreaks.

With a mortality rate of nearly 40% and 8300 confirmed deaths, recent Ebola outbreak has alarmed health workers across the globe. Dr.Cash cited Poor health infrastructure, mistrust of local communities on hospitals and traditional burial practices as few of the many reasons for the deadly spread of the virus. While drawing parallels between the Ebola disease and the Nipah disease (Reported in Bangladesh), Dr.Cash said that India is better prepared to face such disease outbreaks.


Control of any disease outbreak requires the understanding of the organism as well as the socio economic contexts of the affected population. But these factors are often forgotten, he said. Understanding the behaviour of those who are sick and the behaviour of their families play a crucial role in the epidemic control, Dr.Cash pointed out. Listening to the concerns of people and taking local population in to trust are very important in disease control. Public health approach should be able to win the trust of local communities, he added.

While examining the Indian scenario, he opined that better health facilities, surveillance systems and transportation systems make India an unlikely target of any major sustained outbreak of Ebola.

Prof. E.Haribabu, Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Hyderabad Inaugurated the event and Dr.Geeta K Vemuganti, Dean, School of Medical Sceinces, introduced the speaker. The event was held at the School of Humanities auditorium.

Written By: Joyel Pious, MA-Communication