Pumphandle Lectures

The John Snow Society Pumphandle Lecture takes place in September each year when members gather to celebrate the memory of Dr John Snow and afterwards hold the annual general meeting of the Society. The lecture is traditionally accompanied by the ceremony of removing and then replacing the pump handle as a reminder of the continuing challenges to public health in water and other fields.

Below you can explore recordings and writeups from the Annual Pumphandle lectures. Unfortunately we do not hold recordings for some of the lectures, please do let us know if you are able to provide any of the missing ones! 


2019 Eliza Manningham-Buller - Promoting Medical Science in an Age of Scepticism

Read the transcript


2018 Dr Joanne Liu - The Cost of Fear: Humanitarian Crises in the Age of Anxiety 

Listen to the audio recording


2017 Dr Richard Horton - Life and Death in 2100: Health, History and Human Contingency


2016 Dr Paul Spiegel - The Syrian conflict and its effect on the future of humanitarian response: We need a new pumphandle

2015 Atul Gawande - On removing the pumphandle: innovation and implementation

2014 Jeremy Farrar- Medicine and public health: divorced for too long

2013 Julie Cliff - From London to Mozambique, from cholera to konzo


2012: Tom Frieden - What pump handles need to be removed to save the most lives in this century?

2011: Hans Rosling - Epidemiology for the Bottom Billion - where there is not even a pump handle to remove!