The inaugural East of England Global Health Conference was held at March 14th 2018 at Robinson College, Cambridge and brought together a host of clinicians, researchers, academics, as well as those from the public and third sectors: over 140 delegates and representing more than 40 different organisations.
We had 12 guest speakers, including Sir Eldryd Parry, Ben Simms, and Dr. Tirej Brimo. The focus was on sharing learning from global health activities in the era of the sustainable development goals, specifically looking at global health partnerships and co-development with regards to research and academia between partner countries/institutions.
Sir Eldryd Parry, in his keynote address, highlighted the importance of being ready to change in the field of global health. It is important to be responsive rather than prescriptive.
Our panelists recounted their experiences volunteering abroad: Alistair Bolt in Sierra Leone, Sarah Cavanagh in Beira (Mozambique), Sharon Stone in El Salvador. They all commented on the huge range of benefits health professionals who engage in global health bring back to their regular work place and the NHS (e.g new ideas and knowledge, varied experiences, improved clinical practice, renewed drive in career, meta skills, cultural competence etc.)
There was a stimulating discussion about the challenges of working in the field, regarding permission to leave, transferring qualifications between countries, the problem of obtaining informed consent when the local languages and more.
Participants created a call to action to establish an East of England Global Health Network.
In summary, many conference discussions advocated the need to moving from research and global health work in LMICs to research with LMIC partners, recognising the expertise of those in LMICs.
East of England Global Health Conference, Robinson College . Picture: Keith Heppell
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