Held in the impressive Aula Medica building at Karolinska Institutet, the inaugural Global Health Night was a huge success. A group of KI medical students founded the idea back in the Spring with the aim to educate people regarding hot topics within the global health field. Development and global health have been neglected within medical curriculums for years, so it was great to see many students so keen to learn about the topic. Karolinska actually now offer a Global Health course as part of the medical degree and the Master’s in Global Health, which I am studying.
The night was flawlessly organised by a group of organisations including The Swedish Organisation for Global Health (SOGH) and the Institute for Indian Mother and Child (IIMC). Proceedings started with a talk from Helena Nordenstedt describing her transitional career as a doctor, researcher and now active clinical member of Médecins Sans Frontières. For me, this was most inspiring due to my medical background and similar career aspirations for the future. Each keynote speaker was followed by an interactive Q&A session allowing some debate and interaction with the audience.
Next up it was Johan Lundin showing off his innovative MoMic and the WebMicroscope. Amazing technology enabling rapid diagnostic microscopy particularly useful in the detection of malaria in resource scarce areas. Another inspiring talk came from Kristina Ljungros describing her work with RFSU towards gender equity and sexual-reproductive rights.
Then it was time for the star of the night – Hans Rosling. Although I’ve watched all his TED talks on YouTube and seen him lecture live before, he never fails to entertain and enlighten me. His theme tonight described how globally we have now moved out of the ‘dark ages’ from a world where only the rich have access to electricity and a few girls go to school, to a world where 8 out of 10 have electricity and 9 out of 10 girls complete primary education. Obviously there is still much more to be done as we enter the new 2015 SDG period, but his point was to demonstrate how poorly and negatively we understand the world we live in today.
The evening was rounded off with food and a mingle amongst international organisations, charities and NGOs. Focus groups were also held to gain more specialist insight and discussion towards an area of interest. I attended the Innovation for Global Health focus group which showcased the genius PeePoo from PeePoople! As a sanitation solution in low-income countries, disaster relief and refugee camps, it allows people to safely use a toilet, eliminate disease and also generate fertilizer for use or sale in 4 weeks time.
GHN15 was a fun and informative event with great opportunities to network – I really hope it’s the start of an annual meeting and has inspired others to study or make the career change towards global health.