Accepted paper:

Situating Evidence in Public Health Interventions: Experiences from India, Nepal and Sri Lanka


Salla Sariola (University of Helsinki)
Tharindi Udalagama (University of Colombo)

Paper short abstract:

Methodologies of science and medicine have come to inform public health policy making in novel context. Based on five cases studies in 2011-2012 in India. Sri Lanka and Nepal we analyse how health policy is formulated, and what kinds of evidence are deployed.

Paper long abstract:

Over the past decade or so, there has been an increased interest in generating evidence-based public health policies in South Asia. As a part of the research project 'Biomedical and Health Experimentation in South Asia [BHESA]' we investigated five studies in the public health sector that were concerned with generating 'rigorous' experimental evidence to persuade governments and policy makers to adopt new policies and programmes. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in three countries—India, Nepal and Sri Lanka—this paper interrogates the processes that intervene between public health and politics, through a discussion of selected case studies on evidence generation in public health policies and programmes. In addition to unpacking what is meant by 'rigour' in these studies, this paper explores the views of a range of actors, institutions and networks that put emphasis on evidence, and the underlying factors that influence the uptake of evidence in health policy-making in the three countries.

panel LD06
Anthropologies in and of public health in the 21st century