Dr. S.S Lal (Sadasivan Sreemathy Lal) is a leading intellectual from India who has played a seminal role in transforming Public Health internationally. Starting from a humble background, Dr. Lal has shown the way of how any dedicated individual could rise to the international stage and make huge impacts on social service delivery.
His focus was on ensuring the highest quality care delivery in a very limited resource setting. During his stint in East Timor, and later through program implementation in Ethiopia, Zambia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh, he applied his hands-on learning to get things done. He was noted for his ability to cut through the bureaucracy with simple innovations. When asked about it, he refers to his background as a humble Indian and how it has contributed to his success abroad in hostile environments.
Dr. Lal began his career as a physician and soon he emerged as an influencer who revolutionized public awareness about the way health care is delivered in the country. He made his foray into popular imagination through his popular health show, which ran to 500 episodes on India’s first global satellite TV channel. He directed and presented the show, interacting with thousands of people and touching their lives all through the ten long years the show was aired.
Later, he took over his role with the WHO and oversaw program implementation in over twenty-five countries across Asia, Africa and Europe. His long and fruitful international career saw him emerging as a tough taskmaster and a deft fund manager who cut no corners when it came to the final service delivery. Dr. Lal was able to negotiate the complex and winding mazes of bureaucracy and institutionalized corruption in these countries while ensuring quality service to its most vulnerable members.
It is this learning that brought Dr. Lal to the question that changed his life. If he could create so much value to so many people across the world, shouldn’t he be at least trying to deliver the same in his homeland?
That led to a long phase of contemplation, after which he decided to take up a challenging role back in India. After all, it is from India that he started tracing the great journey that took him to all these places. His strong roots and a huge network has been waiting back home to be exploited, in delivering sustainable services to the most vulnerable rungs of society.
Consequently, Dr. Lal took up his present position as the President of the Kerala unit of All India Professional Congress, an umbrella body for professionals from all walks of life. A multifaceted personality and a cross-disciplinary visionary, Dr. Lal has been quite successful in directing the organization towards solving the pressing problems of society. He has been successful in placing the organization as a corrective force in the political landscape of Kerala. He is also currently heading the Department of Public Health at Global Institute of Public Health (GIPH, India) and is on a mission to create a cadre of competent public health professionals for India and the world.
Apart from his professional achievements, Dr Lal is a celebrated author and media director. His creativity has generated ripples across the cultural circles of the country. He is also known for his captivating photographs and his contributions as an art connoisseur. In his spare time (which is quite scarce these days!), you will find him reading at the quaint corner of his office at Vellayambalam, Thiruvananthapuram. He is also keen on interacting with young professionals and students who are in want of a solid direction to their careers in social service in India and abroad.