Medical Students International | MSI 44

Post-pandemic Recovery and Resilient Health Systems

“Internship days – View from Clementino Fraga Filho University Hospital” | Pedro Henrique Sales Barbosa | IFMSA-Brazil 

Welcome to the MSI44!​

The Medical Student International (MSI) magazine is back with its 44th issue! MSI is an interactive, engaging and inspiring magazine, given a space for medical students around the world to communicate their projects, ideas, and initiatives. It also focuses on global health perspectives brought by medical students worldwide.

This issue’s theme is “Post Pandemic Recovery & Resilient Health Systems”  Additionally, the magazine features articles from medical students on their perspectives and activities related to our Standing Committees, Short Stories, Photos, Poetry, Podcasts and more!

To learn more about the MSI and find previous issues click here!

Meet the Team

"The pandemic response was a trailer of what's wrong with our systems in times of crisis"

Shweta Narayan (Health Care without Harm) in interview with IFMSA

Post-pandemic recovery and resilient health systems

MSI44 Theme

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted health systems worldwide, exposing vulnerabilities and testing the resilience of health systems. The rapid spread of COVID-19 strained healthcare systems, leading to shortages of hospital beds, medical supplies, and healthcare professionals. This overwhelmed infrastructure resulted in delayed or inadequate care for both COVID-19 patients and those with other health conditions. Furthermore, the pandemic disrupted routine healthcare services as many health systems had to suspend or reduce non-emergency services, including routine check-ups, elective surgeries, and preventive care, in order to prioritize the pandemic response. This disruption significantly impacted patients’ health outcomes and resulted in the exacerbation of other health conditions.

IMG_8422 - Khadijah

The pandemic further highlighted existing health inequities and disparities within and between countries. Marginalized communities, including racial and ethnic minorities, low-income populations, and refugees, faced disproportionate burdens of COVID-19 cases, severe illness, and mortality rates. Health systems must address these disparities and ensure equitable access to healthcare for all. The pandemic exposed the need for robust preparedness and resilience strategies within health systems. Countries that had invested in public health infrastructure, emergency response mechanisms, and strong healthcare networks were better equipped to respond effectively to the crisis. Furthermore, the pandemic highlighted the importance of international collaboration and coordination among healthcare institutions, governments, and global health organizations. Sharing data, knowledge, and resources played a crucial role in improving the pandemic response and mitigating its impact.

Looking forward, I believe addressing health disparities and promoting equitable access to healthcare is crucial for myself and for my people (…)

Olukeye Toluwanimi Deborah “Post-pandemic recovery and resilient health systems”

Theme articles

Building Back Better: Youth as the Foundation of a
Resilient Health System

Madhu Shruti Mukherjee

West Bengal University of Health Sciences | MSAI – India

As we inch closer to the 2030 deadline for our Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) this year, the Special Edition of the Secretary General’s Report towards SDG Progress aims to remind us that the world is far behind its declared commitments, with only 12% of the set SDG targets being on track.1 Alarmingly, almost all SDG 3 targets are in need of acceleration with almost none on track, the pandemic having significantly reversed the progress made in achieving these targets. In a post pandemic era, only a robust health system with an efficient and able workforce can help shoulder this huge responsibility and fill the lacunas that COVID-19 has exposed. Looking at recent trends of expansion of the health workforce and increasing absorption rates of graduates into the health system2 it is safe to assume that the better part of this burden will be borne by young medical graduates and young health professionals. (…)

I am Nigeria, and this is my pandemic story

Olukeye Toluwanimi Deborah

Babcock University | NiMSA Nigeria

Three thousand, one hundred and fifty-five deaths and none was intentional.

As the giant of Africa, this was the toughest blow I had received in the past fifty years. February 27, 2020, was the beginning of an indelible nightmare in the disguise of a cough and stubborn high fever which assailed an Italian expatriate. SARS-CoV-2 was the antagonist that began as an unexplained, pneumonia-like illness and evolved into numerous highly transmissible variants that brought life to a standstill.

Upon the detection of the index case that was imported from Italy, there was an initial perception that COVID-19 was a disease of the elite, more the political bourgeoisie. As the virus raged through the respiratory tracts of plebeians, with one of my States (Lagos) being the epicentre of the outbreak, waves of panic were sent across my people. (…)

Interviews

For this edition of Medical Students’ International, we interviewed Shweta Narayan from Health Care without Harm and Monica Trentin and Martina Valente from Center for Research and Training in Disaster Medicine (CRIMEDIM). We reflected on the theme of the magazine from the perspective of their work and background in global health. Click below to read the interviews!

In Youth Voices podcast episode, we talked to Iris M. Blom about meaningful youth engagement in global health, how youth organizations can open the doors in future careersand the road from IFMSA to WHO. Stay tuned!

It’s very important to explore and study disparities and inequalities in ordinary times because disasters and public health emergencies exacerbate those disparities rather than create new ones.

-Monica Trentin (CRIMEDIM) at interview with IFMSA

Healthy Planet, Healthy People | Discussing interconnectedness of our health with Shweta Narayan

Building Resilience – health systems’ lens with Monica Trentin and Martina Valente from CRIMEDIM

Youth voices | About meaningful youth engagement in global health and the road from IFMSA to WHO with Iris M. Blom

"Health Checks" - Funica Asri

Rex Crossley Award Winners

The Rex Crossley Awards (RCA) is an award provided by IFMSA in recognition of the work and achievements of the best Activities of IFMSA National Member Organizations (NMOs). The awarded Activities have a meaningful impact on the local, national, and/or international society. The Award is named after Mr. Rex Crossley who is one of the founders of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA).

1st Place

Organ Donation Ambassadors | AMSA Hong Kong

Organ transplantation is a life-saving intervention for patients with organ failure. Hong Kong has an opt-in system, where individuals who wish to donate their organs must register in the Centralised Organ Donation Register. Organ donation rates in Hong Kong in 2020 were among the lowest globally, at 5.6 per million. Concurrently, there are more than 2,000 patients on the waitlist, with some waiting up to 29 years; many patients pass away while waiting. Worse still, the number of withdrawal applications from the Centralised Organ Donation Register has been increasing since 2018, with a recent spike of 2,880 withdrawals in early 2023.

Cultural factors, like traditional beliefs on preserving body integrity after death, misconceptions, and a lack of registration opportunities contribute to the low rate. Hence, AMSAHK launched the Organ Donation Ambassadors campaign to encourage organ donation through promotional booths, a 2-day workshop for medical students, and Instagram campaigns.

From 13th to 17th March 2023, three promotional booths were set up across university campuses. In collaboration with the Department of Health and the Eye Bank Coordinators, officials helped the public register under the Centralised Organ Donation Register and promote eye tissue donation. AMSAHK designed stickers, a photobooth, and an Instagram filter with promotional slogans. Individuals posted using the filter at our photobooth to raise awareness on social media, and the stickers were a popular souvenir. We recorded 355 new Centralised Organ Donation Register registrations and over 600 interactions on social media.

The 2-day event on organ donation took place on March 19th and 22nd, 2023. Participants gained an overview of organ donation in Hong Kong from Dr. Chau Ka-foon (Honorary President of the Hong Kong Transplant Sports Association), and learned about transplant surgery from Professor Chan See-ching (Vice President of the Hong Kong Organ Transplant Foundation). Participants also interviewed organ recipients, donor families, doctors, and nurses to understand how organ donation changes lives. Participants wrote articles and reflections after the interview, which are to be published in a booklet and shared with the public to further promote organ donation.

On the second day, the Eye Bank staff explained the eye tissue donation process and participants observed how eye tissues were stored at the Eye Bank. The Hospital Authority Organ Donation Coordinators discussed their role in organ donation, and Dr. Samuel Fung presented on Hong Kong’s organ donation system, how it differed from other countries, and shared insights from his experience in organ donation. Data from pre- and post-evaluation forms showed over 90% of participants felt more confident and were committed to promoting organ donation as ambassadors after the event.

The Instagram campaign featured interactive trivia, an Instagram filter, and educational posts on AMSAHK and SCOPH AMSAHK’s Instagram pages. The most popular post reached over 1,558 accounts, with a 15% engagement rate.

Ultimately, the activity resulted in more registered organ donors, increased awareness for organ donation, and empowered individuals as ambassadors for organ donation after learning about this cause from an interpersonal, social, institutional, and medical approach.

2nd Place

CHIKITSA –  Challenging Infections Through Spreading Awareness | MSAI India

India faces a surfeit of deadly communicable diseases like Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya, Typhoid etc. which show an increased prevalence specially during the rains resulting in loss of life and resources. So it was crucial to understand how to halt the spread of such diseases, especially considering that most of these diseases are easily preventable, at an individual and community level. 

Recognizing the need for improved awareness on prevention of communicable diseases, SCOPH MSAI launched, ‘CHIKITSA – Challenging Infections Through Strengthening Awareness’ a national community outreach and awareness campaign for educating the general population about infection prevention, with key emphasis on risk factors and their prevention. 

‘CHIKITSA’, Sanskrit for ‘Treatment’ is a befitting name since it aims to reduce the burden on tertiary prevention and prevent communicable diseases from occurring in the first place. The campaign consisted of an hour long on-ground awareness session organised by organisers locally, with the help of resources provided by the National Team. The awareness and outreach sessions were conducted through the monsoon months across the country. The online social media campaign involved a video describing signs and prevention of prevalent mosquito borne diseases, released on World Mosquito Day. 

This activity had 59 events spread around the country, involving 248 medical student volunteers and an outreach to 1,932 members of the general population. 61.31% of the target population understood what the monsoon related illnesses were in their state, and 70.68% could tell 2 or more than two ways of preventing these diseases. 77.62% of the target population could identify at least 2 general signs and symptoms for the diseases, and 61.26% were informed of the local trustworthy and economic health care facilities in their area. 

While community health education is an established primary prevention measure, utilising medical student volunteers to undertake the process of strengthening awareness as well as demonstrating important infection prevention and vector control practices in the Native Language of the community proved to be a great way to impact the general underprivileged population. Door-to-Door as well as Group Interaction of the volunteers with the participants, allowed them to spread information about key diseases prevalent in their area, as well as provided them with an opportunity to personalize their pitch for infection prevention on the basis of the health status and visible practices of the individual and community, allowing for better health education interventions. 

With the second edition of CHIKITSA this term, SCOPH MSAI hopes to reach an even wider population with a special focus on disadvantaged populations and a donation drive of mosquito nets and mosquito repellents to further solidify the message of prevention- the sacred cornerstone of public health.

3rd Place

Anti-FGM | IFMSA-Egypt

8 out of 10 women in Egypt are victims of this tragic crime.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) which is all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. It is a pressing issue which has affected almost 86% of Egyptian married women between the ages of 15 according to the Egyptian Family Health Survey – 2021.

Egypt has been evolving for the last decade when it comes to the sexual health and rights, but due to some traditional beliefs, there are some taboo issues that have been neglected including FGM, so as part of our duty towards our country and region, We in IFMSA-Egypt have took it upon ourselves to break these taboos clouded by years of religious misconceptions and society standards, and our plan is the Anti-FGM Project.

The Anti-FGM Project started a few years ago, when multiple organizations collaborated to pass the law to criminalize FGM, we succeeded in enforcing laws, but we discovered that unlike laws, brains and minds can’t be enforced, they need to be influenced, and convinced, so we did just that, setting out to build the capacity of medical students & healthcare workforce and raising the awareness of the general public, thus having 2 barriers decreasing and stopping the prevalence of FGM laws and knowledge, and with that we could end FGM and further evolve sexual and reproductive health and rights and work towards Egypt Vision 2030.

This year we initiated the 1st edition of the Anti-FGM Summit in Egypt, which was the biggest gathering of different stakeholders, medical students and general public to tackle FGM from different perspectives especially the religious and medical sides, and having our national policy document translated into arabic and used as policy briefs.

We followed up on the summit with 3 Workshops in collaboration with the Egyptian Doctors Syndicate which were held in Upper Egypt which has highest prevalence of FGM, and a workshop about medicalization of FGM which is a pressing issue in Egypt. Years working on this project, loads of statistics gathered, and a lifetime of hands-on experience had to be crowned and documented for sustainability in IFMSA-Egypt’s first Anti-FGM Manual that we published after that, in both arabic and English to be the main resource and data for our Egyptian advocates to use in their -hopefully- short journey. Whilst having a form for survivors to share their stories and guide us in our efforts to really do no harm in our advocacy.

IFMSA-Egypt is fighting FGM all over the country with local coordinators being capacitated in various workshops and competency modules. We Worked, are working and will work on Anti-FGM Project until the percentage becomes zero, with thousands of Medical students, Healthcare workforce and general public reached, they are the future and the future will be better. Though much has been achieved over the past two decades in lifting the veil of secrecy surrounding FGM, there is still an enormous amount of efforts to be done.

Standing Committee Articles

SCORE Articles

For the Research Enthusiast

SCOME Articles

Medical Education

SCOPE Articles

For the Exchange Enthusiast!

SCORA Articles

SRHR Topics!

SCORP Articles

Human Rights and Peace!

SCOPH Articles

Public Health!

Short stories

Unique stories from around the world!

Poetry

Touching words

MSI-44-1-1.pdf

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