Photo credit K.V. Balasubramanya KHPT

KHPT photo wins award in The Lancet competition

22 January 2015
Michelle Moore

KHPT photograph takes proud place in The Lancet.

A photograph taken by STRIVE partner Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT) was judged one of the twelve best entries for Highlights 2014: Picturing Health in The Lancet.

K.V. Balasubramanya (Balu) took the photograph during a training session for Samvedana +, an intervention study challenging violence against sex workers by their intimate partners. Samvedana means ‘comprehensive empathetic response’ in Kannada and the programme builds on KHPT’s work over more than a decade to mobilise sex workers.

Sex workers face marginalisation and violence, including from intimate partners, family and clients. Earlier KHPT interventions helped to lower rates of violence by police, clients and “goons”, at the same time as increasing rates of condom use. But violence by their non-paying partners continue to put women at risk. Young women such as Rangamma (in the photograph and name changed) have begun to break the silence and question the violence they are exposed to.

Balu photographs many aspects of marginalised people’s lives with sensitivity and skill. This recognition by The Lancet is well earned. Introducing the award, this paragraph draws attention to the power of photography to draw attention to health issues and bring them alive.

The moment captured in a photograph can highlight important health issues and so it is for the winning images we publish here, many of which cast light on access to health care in low-income countries. From neonatal care in Africa to the work of midwives in Afghanistan, from the challenges encountered by sex workers in India to the vital role that community health workers have in bringing health care to homes, the photographs tell us about the lives and health stories of people around the world. The images also demonstrate the engagement of our readers in communicating issues of global concern in innovative ways. 

Joanna Palmer, The Lancet and Zoë Mullan, The Lancet Global Health

Congratulations to Balu and KHPT on this evocative photograph and prize.