For the second time, I was able to attend the World Health Summit this year.
What is the World Health Summit, and what does this event entail?
The World Health Summit (WHS), a renowned 3-day conference held annually in mid-October in Berlin, serves as a pivotal platform for fostering dialogue and collaboration among key stakeholders in the field of global health. With its diverse attendees representing various sectors including politics, research, private corporations, and governments, the summit delves deep into discussions about making health a fundamental human right for all. This year’s speakers included Prof. Tedros, Director-General of the WHO, Prof. Lauterbach, Germany’s minister of health, regional directors of the WHO, countless excellencies, and about 4000 participants from all around the world. Under the theme “A defining year for global health action”, central topics included learning from COVID-19 for future pandemics, recommitting to universal health coverage, ensuring sustainable health for humans and the planet, harnessing the power of digital technologies to close the treatment gap, celebrating the WHO’s 75th anniversary, and innovating treatments to accelerate the fight against tuberculosis.
How was I able to participate, and what motivated me to join?
Due to my keen passion for stakeholder engagement and cross-sectoral partnerships in global health, I knew that attending this event would be an invaluable experience. Fortunately, the WHS offers a discount for young professionals and students; and this year, the price for participants below the age of 29 was 200 EUR. Even though this may still be a high amount for young delegates, it is still much less compared to the 900 EUR standard admission cost. Additionally, it may be possible to get the participation fee sponsored by a university or organization.
What were the most valuable parts I took away from the conference?
In light of the ever-changing, horrific situation in conflict zones around the world, I found myself moved by Prof. Tedros’ emphasis on the fight for health as a human right needs to transcend all ideologies and borders. Reflecting on the rich and diverse discussions at the summit, there was a general focus on an interdisciplinary approach to addressing the global health challenges we face. In addition, being able to network and be in an open environment with many inspiring individuals was undoubtedly one of the most valuable parts about the summit. Engaging sessions on mental health equity, vaccine distribution in Africa, antimicrobial resistance in the global south, achieving universal health coverage, and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities–these in particular resonated with my personal commitments.
As a representative of SOGH, I had the honor of showcasing our organization’s impactful projects and forging meaningful connections with like-minded stakeholders dedicated to promoting equitable access to healthcare in low- and middle-income countries. It was a humbling experience to witness the collective commitment of individuals and organizations towards fostering sustainable change in global health.
How did the theme of this year’s WHS resonate with SOGH?
Given that the central goal of our organization is to attain a world without health inequities, the mission of the WHS strongly resonates with SOGH. The WHS’s specific theme for 2023, “ A defining year for global health action”, is in line with our pursuit to promoting sustainable change through our impact on maternal health in Uganda, dental health promotion in disadvantaged areas of Stockholm, and the decolonization of global health practices.
Looking ahead, the next World Health Summit is scheduled to take place in Berlin from October 13 to 15, 2024. For any inquiries or further information about this event, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, let us continue to strive for a healthier and more equitable world for all.