IFMSA was present at the World Health Summit, which was held in Berlin, Germany from the 15th until the 17th of October 2017. IFMSA was represented in the summit by the Vice-President for External Affairs – Ms. Batool Alwahdani, the Liaison Officer to Student Organisations – Mr. Jonne Juntura, and the Regional Director for Eastern Mediterranean – Ms. Salma Ben Letaifa.
The World Health Summit (WHS) brings together stakeholders and decision-makers from every field in the healthcare spectrum, providing the perfect forum for exchange with experts from academia, industry, politics and civil society. Attracting about 1.600 participants and a wide range of stakeholder groups from all over the world, the event takes place annually in the German capital Berlin.
Our aims from attending this summit included taking an active role in discussions related to global health and advocating for the role of youth involvement in all processes. We also explored new opportunities for IFMSA in relation to our Global External Focus Areas, and identified important topics to work on and collaboration opportunities that can benefit our federation and strengthen the role of medical students, being the future health care providers. We were able to meet a lot of our partners, and discuss our work in different projects and meetings.
IFMSA addressed the audience, through a speech delivered by our Vice President for External Affairs, Batool, in the opening ceremony of the World Health Summit. The speech introduced our federation, the work we do, our trainings and programs, and most importantly our engagement in high level meetings and advocacy work in global health. We also focused on the role of youth in decision making processes, the importance of meaningful youth participation and equipping youth with the skills and knowledge they need to take on health leadership roles locally and globally. The audience was impressed with IFMSA’s role in global health and the president of World Health Summit, Dr Detlev Ganten, mentioned that IFMSA is a great organization to collaborate with, and he is happy to see young optimistic leaders actively engaging in global health. He also stressed on the importance of working together, young and old, for the future.
The summit included many sessions, workshops and panels that tackled important topics related to global health, and the central topics of the summit included: The Future of Global Health Governance, Global Health Security, Healthy and Resilient Cities, Vaccine Research and Development, and Strengthening Innovation and Health Systems. The summit was also a place where many IFMSA members met from different countries in the world. They discussed the different work in their countries and exchanged expertise all through the summit.
The World Health Summit is a great place where partners, leaders, stakeholders and advocates from all around the world meet and discuss the future for healthcare and global health. IFMSA, being one of those active leaders and advocates, makes sure to participate actively in the summit every year and reflect the work and opinions of our members.