News and Opinions  –  2024

Dr. S.S. Lal appointed new Director for ReAct Asia Pacific!

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2024-01-31

ReAct global leaders group is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr S.S. Lal as the new Director of ReAct Asia Pacific. Dr S.S. Lal is a renowned Indian public health expert with over three decades of experience working across Asia, Africa, Europe and the USA to strengthen health systems and expand access to quality healthcare. His multifaceted expertise, spanning medicine, program management, research and training, will be invaluable as ReAct expands its work across the Asia Pacific region.

Dr. S.S. Lal is the new Director for ReAct Asia Pacific. Photo: Private.

Long experience in access to healthcare

Dr. S.S. Lal assumes leadership of ReAct Asia-Pacific after an illustrious career dedicated to expanding healthcare access globally. He has held senior positions in WHO, UNEP, Global Fund, Wadhwani Foundation, FHI360 and PATH. He is currently a Professor of Public Health at the Global Institute of Public Health, India.

Dr. S.S. Lal, Director ReAct Asia Pacific. Photo: Private.

Dr. S.S. Lal, new Director ReAct Asia Pacific says:

I firmly believe that we all have the right to live in a world where access to quality-assured antibiotics, diagnostics, and treatments are available to all.

I envision a world where people have equitable access to antibiotics that save their lives from infectious diseases, urgent measures are taken to use such antibiotics carefully and rationally and the development of antibiotic resistance is dramatically reduced. To achieve this, all disciplines including the scientific world, medical fraternity, civil society, community, and decision makers should know their respective roles in addressing antibiotic resistance, and translate their knowledge into practice.

Working for WHO and other international organizations, he has implemented large-scale public health programs across twenty-five low and middle-income countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.

Dr. S.S Lal continues:

ReAct is a well-known and greatly respected actor in public health that, for many years, has shown leadership in convening different disciplines and stakeholders and has been pushing for more concerted and strong global action on antibiotic resistance. I am delighted to take on this new position.

Building network and coalitions

Dr S.S. Lal is also known for excellent networking and coalition-building skills, as well as for mentoring teams and individuals. He has authored many scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals. He also has extensive experience in media and, among other things, has presented over 500 weekly episodes of the first health show on a global television channel in India and has been an editor and columnist for prominent health publications. He publishes short stories and novels.

Anna Sjöblom, Director ReAct Europe says:

I am very much looking forward to working with Dr SS Lal and to have him joining the ReAct Global leaders group and being part of developing and strengthening the ReAct network.  His knowledge, engagement in equity and access to quality health care, and his drive and energy will be a great resource for ReAct.

Dr. S.S. Lal brings the kind of seasoned leadership, regional expertise and technical acumen required to catalyze such a response to antibiotic resistance across Asia and the Pacific over the coming years.

Dr Lal holds a medical degree (MBBS), Ph.D., MPH, and MBA, and postgraduate diplomas in Management and HR management. Within the field of infectious diseases, he has worked a lot with tuberculosis but also HIV, Malaria and COVID-19.

ReAct Asia Pacific: Mobilizing in focus

ReAct Asia Pacific, previously based at the  Christian Medical College Vellore, has successfully championed bottom-up approaches by developing locally appropriate and innovative initiatives and models to address antibiotic resistance such as the Antibiotic Smart Communities Initiative that focuses on community-led work to systematically address the need for bottom-up engagement approaches. The node has played a major role in mobilizing policy makers, healthcare providers, and the public, using a holistic, One Health perspective. Dr Lal will both build on this excellent work that has been done and also commence new initiatives in the region.

The Asia Pacific Node will be hosted by the Global Institute of Public Health in Thiruvananthapuram, India.

ReActs work and geographical presence 2024

Going forward the ReAct network will operate through four regional nodes:

ReAct Africa, which is registered as its own entity in Zambia, with its base in Lusaka and with additional team members based in Kenya.

ReAct Latin America, based at Child to Child foundation in Cuenca, Ecuador and with an additional team in Argentina and El Salvador.

ReAct Asia Pacific, with its new base at the Global institute of Public Health in Thiruvananthapuram, India, and an additional team in Indonesia.

ReAct Europe, based in Uppsala University, Sweden

The work previously carried out by the ReAct North America node will transition, as of February 2024, and continue under the auspices of the IDEA Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

ReAct towards the UNGA High-level Meeting on AMR

The world is nowhere near being able to prevent or tackle the widespread pain and suffering that difficult-to-treat infections increasingly are causing to people, animals, the global economy and societies. Antibiotic resistance jeopardizes the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will reverse century-long progress in global public health and modern medicine. Business as usual is not an option.

In 2024 ReAct is mobilizing towards the United Nations General Assembly High-level meeting on AMR to be held in New York in September. This meeting needs to be the turning point in our common global response to antibiotic resistance to achieve the ambitious goals of the AMR Global Action Plan. Global leaders need to tackle access to lifesaving antibiotics – their promises must lead to action.

Read ReAct’s new Policy Brief: Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest & most urgent cross-border health crises of our time – but still not addressed as such!

During 2024, the ReAct network will also launch local initiatives such as innovative  antibiotic stewardship programs  in hospitals, engaging communities and the broader civil society for strengthened awareness.