SHEDDING LIGHT ON GLOBAL HEALTH

‘Doing the right thing is the most thankless and invisible thing that you will do, but it is what will hold you to your values.’

 

In roaring speech Kon Karapanagiotidis, founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, brings the audience to a silence as his words echo through the auditorium. Public health permeates every facet of life but the political wires are tucked behind the public conscience and the Global Ideas Forum helped me gain a glimpse of the complex machine that runs our country.

 

As a medical student, global health teaching is sparse and often treated as a second priority. I for one went to the Global Ideas Forum on a whim that I might know a little bit more about the broader social context and what constitutes public and global health. What I took out was not only an informative discussion centred around broad social and health issues, but also awareness and perspective that will change the way I think about my career. Every little detail of the health system requires optimisation, social policies and problem solving. Take, for instance, the medical bill which we receive in our mail. It may well appear to be some numbers and dollar signs on a piece of paper but it is likely to be a collaboration of countless hours of defining goals, ideation, prototyping and testing.

 

This thinking, known as design thinking, was reinforced with small workshop sessions working on tangible real life problems. Our real life problem was largely about access to healthcare in a small village in Nepal and how a small group of volunteer health professionals who visit once every 6 months can best improve health outcomes. It was interesting to see our solution slowly be pieced together, coming to fruition over many spent textas and scribbles on butcher’s paper. It reminded me of the case-based learning I do in medical school, but applies to whole societies, not to individuals.

reimagine time

Perhaps the greatest message I took out of the conference is that passion is key to life. Transformative work is the hardest work you’ll ever do but it’s also extremely rewarding. It was amazing to see passion brimming from the speakers. Each speaker’s staunch opinions made me come to the realisation that championing my own cause is something I should do for myself in life and that with passion I must always love myself, forgive myself and dare to dream.

 

William Poh, Medical Student