My Rapporteur Experience – East of England Global Health Conference

By Siana Brealey, In-office Volunteer, CGHP

In this blog, Siana reflects on her experience as a rapporteur for the East of England Global Health Conference.

Siana is a student at Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge. She is keen to study Medicine, and has a developing interest in global health sparked by an international background and time spent living in central Asia and southern Africa. 

Over the past few months, I have been helping with communications at CGHP, and have really loved it, so I was delighted when I was asked if I could help rapporteur for the East of England Global Health Conference. The conference had a special focus on Collaboration for Impact, clearly very important in these crazy times! It was fascinating to hear from so many inspirational health professionals, to gain an insight into all their roles and the changes in approaches in the last year or so. But, also to hear their views on the importance of collaboration and partnerships. Although I was furiously typing the majority of the time to capture all the content and discussions, I learnt so much.

Many speakers touched on successful partnerships needing a strong focus on individuals with local level implementation at their core and spoke of the need to shift away from one-directional, and enterprise-like partnerships towards more equitable and meaningful partnerships. I think creating a really strong foundation with frequent communication can ensure that this happens and then the partnership is able expand to a local, national and then international level.

Leading on from this, creating a genuine friendship is vital, not an episodic process that only happens when visiting. Thanks to social media, Zoom, and many other platforms that have become so useful during the pandemic, we have realised quite how amazing they can be, and looking into the future, definitely something that can be used more often.

I was surprised to hear about the positive and sometimes unexpected impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as well, all over the globe. What I really liked was how it has shown that seemingly small practices such as hand hygiene are so vital and with good training and understanding of something so simple, such a huge difference can be made. Issues that before were maybe not seen as fundamental, have become centre stage, and many are realising how we need to draw on all the aspects of healthcare for a coordinated, effective approach.

I hope that looking ahead we will incorporate collaboration and trust into partnerships and as the Swahili word ‘harambee’ says, “all pull together” because that is when we can really learn from each other and work in true partnership.

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