Covid Philosophy Week, 10-13 May 2021 – Registration Open

The journal Philosophy of Medicine, the Department of HPS, Cambridge, and the Institute for the Future of Knowledge, U Johannesburg, bring you a multi-day programme of philosophical discussions responding to Covid-19. There are three events:

10-13 May, Conference: Philosophical Perspectives on Covid-19, hosted by Philosophy of Medicine and the Institute for the Future of Knowledge (UJ)

12 May, Workshop: The Individual and the Population, part of the series Rethinking the Ethics of Vaccination organized by Emma Curran and Stephen John (Cambridge HPS)

13 May, Panel: Philosophy of Medicine on Covid-19, hosted by Philosophy of Medicine and the Institute for the Future of Knowledge (UJ)

These events have been timetabled so that they do not clash and are accessible for as broad a range of time zones as possible.

Registration and further info for all three events available here:

Warm regards,

The Editors, Philosophy of Medicine

“Lockdown is a luxury” – Online Covid-19 Conversation #1, 25 April, Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity

25 April 14:00 UTC / 15:00 London / 16:00 Johannesburg / 17:00 Nairobi / 19:30 New Delhi / 19:45 Kathmandu


Join the first of Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity’s online conversations that look towards a new social and economic future after the COVID-19 pandemic. “Lockdown is a Luxury” will be led by Fellows living and working in Asia and Africa. Saida Ali, Tracy Jooste, Appu Suresh and Kripa Basnyat will share first-hand experiences and insights on the pandemic and its current and long-term impacts.

A third of the world’s population — some 2.6 billion people — are now under varying degrees of lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. For those who have the privilege of withdrawing into comfortable isolation, who can work from home and who have enough money to weather the storm, lockdown and social distancing are effective options. But what about the poor, who make up the majority of the world’s population and who are already facing social and economic inequalities? Is the worldwide WHO-approved lockdown an unaffordable luxury?  

From street vendors to house cleaners, sex workers to migrant labourers, daily wage workers everywhere are struggling with immediate and often complete losses of income and the impracticality of following measures such as lockdowns and social distancing. Those living in dense, low-income informal settlements in countries such as Kenya, India, Bangladesh, South Africa and Brazil have seen limited access to water and sanitation restricted further still. Around the world, cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse are rising. “Flattening the curve” is a distant goal, but hunger and poverty are here now.  

In India, nearly 400 million migrant workers’ lives have been upended. As places of work close down, as states shut borders and halt transportation, and as workers run out of cash, they have no choice but to walk hundreds of miles back home. In Kenya, rural widows are working and walking longer hours for fewer shillings to put food on the table: the struggle now is not for social justice or gender equity, but survival. For millions of Africans, coronavirus and the responses of states and governments have only exacerbated poverty and powerlessness.  

What does today look like on the ground in Asia and Africa? What will tomorrow bring? Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity — activists, policy-makers, practitioners and movement-builders from around the world — offer their insights.

Speakers: Saida Ali, Kripa Basnyat, Tracy Jooste, Appu Suresh

Call for Registration: Evidence in Healthcare Reform

Symposium at the Brocher Foundation, Geneva, 4-5 July 2013

Speakers: Alex Broadbent, Nancy Cartwright, Michael Marmot, Alfredo Morabia, Justin Parkhurst, Anya Plutinski, Jacob Stegenga, and Sridhar Venkatapuram.

Organised by Alex Broadbent ( Sridhar Venkatapuram (

Register here:


Health care financing and provision is undergoing a crisis around the world. In Europe, the cost of medical care are increasing, along with levels of national spending on healthcare. Moreover the rate of increase exceeds the rate of regional economic growth. Something must be done, but it is far from clear what is the right political or social response. In much of the developing world, on the other hand, the situation is the reverse: increases in prosperity, particularly in the BRICS countries, have not been accompanied by significant healthcare investment; or else significant healthcare investment has benefited only a small portion of society. South Africa, for example, has some of the best medical care in the world, but it is not available to the majority of the population, and preventable morbidity and mortality remains shockingly high. And in North America, there are both high medical costs and highly unequal access, something which the present government has spent considerable political capital attempting to remedy. In short, there is very little apparent agreement on how a healthcare system should be organized in order to be effective, efficient, and equitable, despite a near-universal acceptance that health is both morally and economically important to individual and national wellbeing.

Against this backdrop, this symposium is convened to examine the philosophical underpinnings of effectiveness, efficiency and equity. Public and political debate about healthcare reform inevitably focuses on who should pay and who should provide. This workshop, however, seeks to address the prior question of what works: what healthcare measures are effective for improving population health, how we know they have been effective, and what evidence we need before confidently deploying them in a given sociopolitical setting.  Indeed, much of the tumult surrounding health care reform can only be understood when health policy is seen to share important common elements with other public policies. It is not determined only by scientific evidence, nor must it answer only to that evidence. It is also variously influenced by legal rights, bureaucratic norms, political negotiations, and market mechanism, and it must balance these forces against the scientific evidence for effectiveness. In this workshop we focus on the way scientific evidence fits into this complex sociopolitical setting: how it can, how in fact it does, and how it ought to influence healthcare reform.

In particular, the symposium has the following goals:

  1. To understand the notions of effectiveness, efficiency and equity as they are and ought to be employed in healthcare reform. Especially, to identify the normative implications of the first two, and to clarify the third.
  2. To assess the use of systematic reviews to drive healthcare reform. Especially, to bring together the various criticisms of their use, to identify evidence (if any) for their effectiveness, and to arrive at a clear “best practice” recommendation for the use of evidence in healthcare reform.
  3. To highlight the challenges facing developing countries attempting healthcare reform. Especially, to identify novel ways in which social determinants of health and disease might be managed as part of healthcare reform, and to specify the evidence necessary for such measures.

To register, visit