Hosting a Side Event at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference

“Are you from IFMSA? It’s simply amazing how you guys are everywhere”! This was the first sentence I heard from an external after arriving in Thailand. And it was also the mindset with which IFMSA Delegation at PMAC has been working these days. Yes IFMSA is everywhere, and yes, IFMSA does a good job creating impact in an outcome oriented work… everywhere! From NGOs to politicians, healthcare professionals to decision-making figures, everyone starts to know IFMSA, and expecting to hear about us, and what are we doing! This is amazing, but it is also a responsibility! With this spirit, IFMSA decided to host the first youth side event ever held at PMAC, under the subject “Reducing health inequities through action on the global and local determinants of health and well-being”.

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For a whole morning, IFMSA gathered many specialist on Health Professional Education, with the aim of dicussing the drivers of health inequities, to discuss tools and frameworks for applying the SDH approach in both future health practice and health care leadership.

We started with a short presentation of who IFMSA is and what we do, and then had an opening presentation on “Preparing health workers for the 21st century”. Based on the Lancet’s Commission report, Josko started a high level discussion around what should be the new mindset of physicians, according to today’s reality, problems, and difficulties.

To address the Medical Education component deeper, Agostinho gave us an overview on current scenario of the medical education worldwide and the importance of mutual respect of healthcare professionals in order to provide better healthcare to the patient. The WHO Educational Guidelines: a very recent document launched by WHO at the Human Resources for Health Global Forum in Recife, where IFMSA was also present. Discussion followed around the challenges ahead, the equilibrium between quantity and quality in medical education, the accreditation processes, and the raising migration within the health workforce.

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Split into small working groups, participants were then asked to debate around some “scenarios” proposed by Roopa. With each one’s experience and expertise, problems such as retention of physicians in rural settings, accreditation of medical schools, and inclusion of Global Health and SDHs in medical curricula were discussed.

And because the ground rule is to be specific, and to have outcome-oriented discussions, a list of commitments was created as last part of the event.

It is indeed amazing, and a privilege, to be part of this team of global young advocates for better healthcare, for universal health coverage, for equity and equality…. For a better world! Because this is what we want, this is what IFMSA wants, and this is the “IFMSA we want!”

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