Youth PreWHA Background

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget. The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.

Every year, IFMSA hosts a Youth Pre World Health Assembly (Youth PreWHA) in the days preceding the WHA. During these days, we organize sessions on global health topics, facilitate interactive workshops, and discussions centered around pertinent health issues. These sessions aim to empower young leaders by enhancing their knowledge on global health and global health governance, and fostering essential skills to advocate and participate in the global health arena. Launched in 2013, the Youth PreWHA has become an important event for the IFMSA and the broader youth community engaged in health. The event aims to educate and empower future leaders in health while developing a collaborative approach to youth engagement at the WHA.

The theme of the 2024 Youth PreWHA is New Voices in Global Health Leadership, Policy and Diplomacy.

What is New?

This year following the reform process the Youth PreWHA will be split into two tracks:

Advo

Limited only to members from IFMSA

It will take place in Geneva, over 2 days and aims to provide spaces for delegates to further develop their advocacy efforts & collaborate with one another. It shall offer in depth insight on the advocacy focus areas in the form of technical briefing to allow the delegates to gain an understanding of IFMSA Advocacy efforts and apply critical information within World Health Assembly and accompanying side events.

CB

Open for youth from around the world from health background

It will take place in a hybrid format over 6 days and will increase delegates’ understanding of the dynamics of global health and its governance. Moreover, It shall provide insight into institutions and instruments, mechanisms of policies and frameworks for advocacy within Global Health avenues. 

Overarching Themes & Academic Pillars

Overarching themes represent the core values of IFMSA and its work. As a Federation representing youth since 1951, all our work is created in order to empower young people to be active in the Global agenda of change and make positive contributions within their communities. The Youth PreWHA aims to do so, by improving participants’ understanding of the dynamics of global health and its governance and their advocacy skills to meaningfully engage in the global health arena. The Youth PreWHA provides insight into institutions and instruments, mechanisms of policies and frameworks for advocacy within global health avenues. 

The Curriculum of Youth PreWHA will be built upon two overarching themes which will be integrated within each academic pillar. The overarching themes are:

  • Meaningful Youth Engagement – Global Health will be framed from young people’s perspectives with a focus on their roles and mechanism of which they can get involved within Global Health avenues, as well as barriers and enablers of meaningful youth engagement around the globe.
  • Social Accountability –  as future healthcare professionals we have a responsibility to address societal health needs & concerns of communities in an effort to enhance the health system’s performance to respond to societies and on people’s health status.

The Youth PreWHA is also centered around three academic pillars that form the foundation of the programme and align with the WHOs Thirteenth General Programme of Work. These pillars encapsulate the multifaceted aspects critical to understanding and addressing global health challenges, as well as reflect the vision for a healthier world.  The academic pillars are:

Who are We?

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Changemaker Scholars

The IFMSA strives to reduce financial and other barriers to participation for all its members. The Changemaker Scholarship Program provides a unique opportunity to invest directly in the bright future of a Youth PreWHA delegate.

Changemaker Scholarship

Organizing Committee

Every year, a team of motivated youth works towards ensuring the quality of Youth PreWHA.

FAQ

What are the aims of Youth PreWHA?

As global health governance is a complex field, there is a need to provide high-quality training to youth, to strengthen their health advocacy efforts as they endeavor to represent the youth voice. The Youth Pre World Health Assembly (Youth PreWHA) does exactly this. Held over multiple days prior to the World Health Assembly (WHA), it is a unique opportunity for youth health advocates from all over the world to develop skills, gain knowledge, and contribute to collective advocacy.

The Youth PreWHA revolves around analyzing and exploring contemporary debates pertinent to the issues tabled in the agenda for the WHA. We also develop the necessary soft skills to be successful advocates in the global health arena. This allows participants to be critical thinkers and influential advocates.

Who can attend Youth PreWHA?

IFMSA organized its first-ever Youth PreWHA in the year 2013 and ever since then each year we bring together young people around the world to learn from high-level speakers and develop their skills of advocacy and leadership. 

The delegates have to represent IFMSA National Member Organization or other Youth/Student Organizations.

What are the dates of Youth PreWHA 2024 and 77th WHA? Can I attend partially?

There are 2 tracks for the Youth PreWHA the global health education track and the global health advocacy track.

  • The dates for the global health education track are: 16th March (online) / 6th April (online) / 20th April (online) / 11th & 12th May (online) / 19th – 23rd May (hybrid) and  8th June (online).
  • The dates for the global health advocacy track are: 16th March (online) / 6th April (online) / 20th April (online) / 11th & 12th May (online) / 19th – 23rd May (hybrid) / 24th – 25th May (in person) / 27th May – 1st June (World Health Assembly – in person) and  8th June (online).

Unfortunately the structure of this program requires full attendance across all dates for participants to gain the program’s full benefits and qualify for certification.

How can I participate in the Youth PreWHA? How can I apply for the changemaker scholarship?

The application process starts from December to early  January via a shared form that remains open for 2 weeks. The Changemaker Scholarships are available for those who chose in-person participation. To apply for this opportunity, please indicate that you are interested in the application form and fill out the required additional information.

What is the difference between the Global Health Education Track and the Global Health Advocacy Track?

The global health education track will take place in a hybrid format over 6 days and will increase delegates’ understanding of the dynamics of global health and its governance and improve their advocacy skills. Moreover, It shall provide insight into institutions and instruments, mechanisms of policies and frameworks for advocacy within Global health avenues. 

The global health advocacy track will take place in Geneva, over 2 days and aims to provide spaces for delegates to further develop their advocacy efforts & collaborate with one another. It shall offer in depth insight on selected AWG topics in the form of technical briefing to allow the delegates to gain an understanding of other AWG efforts and apply critical information within World Health Assembly and accompanying side events. Those attending this track will also be IFMSA delegates to the 77th World Health Assembly which will take place from the 27th May – 1st June 2024 ensuring the voice of youth is being heard at the most high-level global health decision-making event.

I have not attended a Youth PreWHA/WHA previously and do not have any international advocacy experience, may I still apply?

Of course! We encourage participants from all backgrounds and of all experience levels to apply. Having experience in global health, not just the topics that are being discussed, will help you appreciate the event and its contents better!

What are the tasks of IFMSA Delegates at the WHA?

We would suggest you refer to previous Youth PreWHA and especially WHA reports for further information regarding all the ways IFMSA delegates are involved and contribute to IFMSA’s advocacy efforts. Reports from the meetings may be found in the section “Learn about the impact of Youth PreWHA”.

When will I hear back about the results of the application?

We plan to release results around the end of February/early March – however if we have a very high number of applications it may take slightly longer however we will keep you informed throughout the entire process and give you regular updates via email.

I want to support the event - how can I do that?

Thank you so much for considering supporting young changemakers! We are exceptionally proud of the capacity of our event to provide flexible options to you and believe the Youth PreWHA is an opportunity not to be missed. We want to make sure that the sponsorship opportunity is tailored to your needs. We developed the sponsorship packages to introduce our resources – find the sponsorship prospectus here. We are able to customize this experience to meet your expectations. Please email us at [email protected] and we would be delighted to work with you to deliver what you might be after. We look forward to a great collaboration!

Who do I contact if I have a question that hasn’t been answered here?

Please send all questions to Beth, the YouthPreWHA chairperson via her email: [email protected].

Can I Attend the Global Health Education track online and join in person for the Global Health Advocacy ?

Unfortunately, if you choose to apply for the Global Health Advocacy track you will have to attend the Global Health Education part fully in person to meet the education criteria necessary for you to contribute meaningfully within the delegation to the 77th WHA. 

Media Center

Blogposts and Press Releases

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Call for 12th Youth PreWHA participants & 77th World Health Assembly Delegates

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Call for Youth PreWHA 2022 & World Health Assembly Delegates

We will host an Open Space Discussion: Meet your Youth PreWHA Alumni session happening on the 20th of November, at 15 GMT where you can [...]

Call for Youth PreWHA Workshop 2021 Participants and World Health Assembly Delegates

Dear IFMSA family, We would like to announce the opening of the call for applications for one of the main […]

Resources

Youth PreWHA & WHA 2023 Advocacy Booklet

Youth PreWHA & WHA 2021 Report

Contact us!

For further information, including partnership opportunities, please contact the IFMSA Liaison Officer to the WHO at: [email protected]