Author Archives: Anna Schurmann

Why you Should Never Call “the Expert”

You are safer in the hands of an inexperienced doctor… You may have seen an article that came out a couple of years ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association about how mortalities among heart patients reduced during national cardiology conferences – when all the senior-most doctors were away (if you didn’t you […]

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We are Immune to Numbers: The Importance of Story Telling

Public health is a very data-driven field. And yet, in India, the numbers are so huge and so startling that we quickly become desensitized to them. We have a population of 1.3 billion people, with 35.7% children underweight (NFHS 2015-6). Once you have accepted this reality, the numbers will no longer move you. Apparently, this […]

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From Sri Lanka with Love: Lessons in Primary Care for Remote Rural Australia

  Last week I visited Rangiri primary health care centre in Dambulla district, Sri Lanka, with a group of Australian GPs who were there for a continuing medical education program. We were all impressed. The facility had a lovely kitchen garden with cassava, brinjal, leafy greens and chillis. It was clean, well maintained, and full of […]

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Parks for Healthier Communities

In this post, I highlight research that identifies the population health benefits of public parks and being outside in nature generally. It includes photos from my friend & award-winning photographer Cop Shiva, taken in Lalbagh, Bangalore’s botanical gardens.   I don’t think I am the only one, who, when I close my eyes and think of my […]

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How being a working mum makes me a better professional (and a better mum)

I love my work and I love being a mother. When I stop and think about what I am really grateful for, the main thing is to be a happy working mum. Not only that, we have evidence to suggest that being a parent can help you be a better professional, and working makes you […]

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Designing for Data Use

  This blogpost is based on a talk I gave at the Evaluation Community of India’s recent “EvalFest” at the Indian Habitat Centre in February. It advocates for using “user-centred” approaches for promoting data use, including understanding-  and even creating – new influence pathways. It also highlights that different decisions have specific information needs and these should […]

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MORE THAN THIS? Getting more bang from your buck for training

How to get more bang for your buck with one-time training programs   We know that one-time training courses are seldom sufficient to build workplace knowledge and skills. People get trained and then return to their workplaces and often don’t get a chance to use the skills they learned, don’t have the confidence or authority […]

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Kicking Up Health Worker Motivation and Engagement

One of the most common problems I see working in the public health system is depleted motivation and engagement. It’s a fundamental challenge to creating and maintaining a strong and responsive public sector. The causes for this vary: lack of formal incentives, an unappreciative organizational culture and an ossified bureaucracy. But the impact is singular: poor […]

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Ideating for New Contraceptive Technologies in Naivasha

I have always wanted to go to Lake Naivasha in Kenya to see flamingos. Pink is my childhood favourite colour and I love birds – I was pretty sure flamingos and me are made for each other. Well, I went to Lake Naivasha as part of an ideation workshop focusing on new contraceptive technologies, hosted […]

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What is going on is Trumpland? Getting a perspective from “Dreamland – The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic”

In Dreamland, Quinones describes the alarming and silent epidemic of opioid addiction growing across the interior of the US; spread by both pharmaceutical companies aggressively marketing Oxycontin and the distribution of black tar heroin from Mexico. This has eaten up and hollowed out already dwindling communities, increasing social isolation – affecting prosperous and poor neighbourhoods […]

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