As a first year, I signed up for the Global Health Innovation Conference to seek practical use of what I learn, particularly avenues in global health. The keynote speeches and interactive workshops at the Global Health Innovation Conference broadened my knowledge on the various dimensions and disciplines health can take. Additionally, from my engagement in the pitch sessions and panel discussions held at the conference, I gathered insightful information in the field of social entrepreneurship.
The key takeaway from this conference for me was the importance of stability and transparency in the delivery of medical care particularly in settings of extreme deprivation. In her keynote address, Dr. Joia Mukherjee emphasized in her keynote address that health care is a right not a commodity. She questioned whether a person’s right to health care stops at the cost of treatment and advocated for governments to redirect their primary focus from prevention strategies and how to leverage small money to addressing the particular essentials of the community in question. Hon. Agnes Binagwaho, the health minister of Rwanda reiterated these points in her presentation on the improvements of health indicators in Rwanda. She described the use of transparency in a “what is good for you is good for me” approach in her administration to deliver equitable health care particularly in eradicating the prevalence of malaria and HIV in rural communities of Rwanda.
My favourite aspect of the conference was the networking and Q&A sessions with both professionals and students from all over the world, which enlightened me on various viewpoints about health. In fact, I listened in on an informal debate between some participants arguing about the tremendous growth of non-profit organizations and the growing instabilities of such businesses. From this, I heard unorthodox viewpoints on ideal measures that could be taken to make tremendous and direct impacts in communities. I really enjoyed the personal conversations with a few entrepreneurs, most of which had started their own non-profit organization or have made an impact in the lives of many in various communities. I admired the passion with which they spoke about their contributions in making a global impact and fuelled my inner drive to give back to a community someday.
With the knowledge and learning experience garnered from this conference and a heightened interest in global health, I look to attend more conferences in the field of health studies, make connections and share ideas with the people I networked with and continue to explore fields of health science that can be applied to a prospective career.