Tracey Koehlmoos: You are invited—and a thank you

Tracey KoehlmoosIt is hard to follow up from my last blog about the Colonel’s unexpected death on the streets of Jakarta so rather than charging into a vaguely academic or policy related blog, I want to pause and give thanks. Thank you to everyone who posted a comment to the blog for your willingness to so publicly share your thoughts. Also, I wish to express my awe and thanks to the shockingly large number of BMJ readers who tracked down my e-mail address and then wrote to me privately. You have shared your experience, prayers, and strength with me and the boys. All of which has been helpful in terms of getting my head around what happened and in terms of thinking about how to move forward. Thank you.

However, what comes next is my invitation to you. I cannot pay you back in equal parts for your support; however, I can promise you free breakfast, refreshments, and public health entertainment. In what is clearly a day out of someone else’s life, I will be in London on 18 October speaking in Soho at a C3 health breakfast seminar sponsored by the United Health Group and then at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, launching our new book, Good Health at Low Cost (at last!). If you would like to learn more about Bangladesh and developing country health systems, this is your chance. And, for anyone who has been reading the blog for a long time, you can confirm if I really do run around the planet in four inch heels and a sari and look like I am about throw up on my shoes before having to stand and speak publicly.

Details for each event are below. I do hope to see you on the 18th of October.

Breakfast Seminar:
This is where you get to eat breakfast courtesy of the excellent people at C3 Health and the UnitedHealth Group with the added twist of watching me explain what Britain can learn from Bangladesh about non-communicable disease. Not to ruin your surprise, but the plan is to talk about the experience and challenges of developing low-cost, low-tech solutions to tackle chronic disease in Bangladesh with a particular look at: 

  • how to create innovation around low-cost, low-tech solutions to chronic disease;
  • the political commitment that is needed and how this must transcend party politics;
  • how to create strong partnerships between government and the non-state sector; and
  • how a health system must change in order to meet the rising tide of chronic disease.

The seminar will be held at the House of St Barnabas, 1 Greek Street, London, W1D 4NQ, on Tuesday 18 October 2011, from 08.30 – 10.00am. Breakfast will be provided from 8am. I hope that you will join us. Please RSVP to Hester Rice to reserve your place: or call 020 7637 4330

Book Launch: Good health at low cost
Over the last two years, I have written a few times about the work that the team and I have been doing on discovering the secret of Bangladesh’s ability to produce so much improvement in the health status of the people. The project was created to mark the 25th anniversary of the original publication of Good Health at Low Cost, and with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, a team of researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, along with partner institutions from Bangladesh, Tamil Nadu, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, and Thailand, revisited the original messages. We asked: Why do some developing countries manage to achieve advances in health while others falter? What factors drive improvements in the health system and in access to primary health care? How can we act on the social determinants of health in cash-strapped economies? How have the study countries achieved the health status we observe today? While many determinants of health remain unchanged, Good Health at Low Cost 2011 highlights the greater potential of health systems to improve health.
The book is ready at last! It is lovely and engaging, but I am probably biased. I would like to invite you to the book launch on Tuesday 18 October 2011 from 12.00-14.00 at the Morris Room, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9SH. The event will be hosted by Richard Horton and there will be a panel discussion and refreshments, which are a great addition to a book launch. To learn more and to register, follow this link: or if you cannot attend but would like information about the GHLC project, please contact Rachel Miles, at

Tracey Koehlmoos is programme head for health and family planning systems at ICDDR,B and adjunct professor at the James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.