The Punching Above Their Weight Research Network met in Cape Town, South Africa to develop research on why some countries produce better than expected life expectancy

PAW Network members, L to R: Prof David Sanders, University of the Western Cape, South Africa; Prof Carlos Alvarez-Dardet, University of Alicante, Spain; Nikki Schaay, University of the Western Cape, South Africa; Dr Toni Delany-Crowe, Southgate Institute; Prof Kedar Baral, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Nepal; Prof Fran Baum, Southgate Institute; Dr Mark Limmer, Lancaster University, UK; Dr Vinya Ariyaratne, General Secretary of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement of Sri Lanka; Prof Clare Bambra, Newcastle University, UK; Prof Jennie Popay, Lancaster University, UK; Nicole Valentine, World Health Organisation; Prof Elsa Giugliani, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; Dr Connie Musolino, Southgate Institute; Dr Toby Freeman, Southgate Institute; Hailay Gesesew, Public Health, Flinders University; Dr Sundar Thiagarajan, Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai, India.

In February 2019 members of the international Punching Above Their Weight Research Network met in Cape Town, South Africa, funded by a UK Health Challenge grant. The meeting was attended by 16 participants from 8 nations. Fran Baum, Toby Freeman, Toni Delany-Crowe, and Connie Musolino represented Southgate, and Hailay Gesesew represented Public Health, Flinders University. The meeting focussed on advancing thinking and research about the social, political, economic and environmental factors that lead some countries to produce better or worse population life expectancy than would be predicted by their economic status. During the meeting multiple jurisdictions were examined as case studies, including Spain, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Australia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and several Indian states. The discussions at the meeting extend previous research that focused primarily on health sector performance, rather than other social determinants that provide a foundation for population health and health equity. Discussions during the meeting also built upon a 2017 Rockefeller Foundation meeting which led to the formation of the Network.

The outcomes of the meeting will include two funding applications to extend the work of the Network, as well as several research papers based on presentations delivered during the meeting.

For more information about the PAW Network please see

Baum, F. et al (2018) ‘Punching above their weight: a network to understand broader determinants of increasing life expectancy’. International Journal for Equity in Health, 17(117), Doi:

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