By Woldekidan K. Amde (UWC)
I would like to share my experience on being part of an Emerging Voices for Global Health (EV4GH) initiative. The Institute of Tropical Medicine– Antwerp (ITM) originated the initiative to help address the current underwhelming presence of health experts from low and middle income countries (LMICs) in the global discourse on health systems strengthening.
The initiative hopes to empower young health professionals and researchers from LMICs to assume a greater role in this regard. The specific objectives of the initiative included: To facilitate participation in a public conference; to introduce and advance content knowledge about global health governance, health systems research and other related topics; and to enhance writing skills towards publication (peer-reviewed publications, social media, blogs) (ITM Brochure 2012).
The Emerging Voices 2012 track, which I had the privilege of participating in, took place parallel to the Second Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR) held in Beijing (18 October–3 Nov 2012). With the call for participation attracting over 350 applicants vying for a place and only fifty health professionals and researchers representing over 30 LMICs accepted to attend, I was extremely fortunate to make the final cut and what a wonderful opportunity it was.
With respect to the Global Symposium the program was structured in different phases (pre-conference, during, and post-conference) and employed different modes of communication (virtual and face-to-face). I particularly enjoyed the face-to-face sessions on substantive issues focusing on health systems research. These sessions were organized across themes: methods for Health Systems Strengthening (HSS), innovation for HSS, Universal Health Coverage, neglected priorities, and the BRICS countries.
In light of the program and research work I am currently engaged in, the methods and innovations themes were more appealing to me. I had the chance to engage with young and senior voices. I also had the chance to share – through oral and poster presentations – the experience of UWC‘s School of Public Health (SOPH) in implementing a multi-country capacity development intervention in the area of human resource for health, and how complex the intervention process is, as well as the strategies we are employing to navigate these challenges.
I was also introduced to innovative approaches for preparing and delivering presentations, which will be handy for some of the work we do at the school, something I plan to share my research colleagues.
Also as a first time visitor, I enjoyed my time inChina. I have always been fascinated by the country – its unparalleled economic growth, its unique ways of coping with the needs of a massive population, its readiness and pride to seek local solutions, and the vision and pragmatism of its leadership. My visit to a well-managed and highly-recognized Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital proved a very good case in point.
I feel the Emerging Voice 2012 track was a success in many respects. Participants appreciated the overall support they received, and benefitted from the opportunities to make meaningful and visible contributions in the Global Symposium through the plenary sessions, oral and poster presentations. I hope the initiative will grow stronger and continue to live up to its lofty ambitions.
This blog is crossposted from the November issue of SoPH Bulletin, the UWC School of Public Health Newsletter