Prof Omaswa Francis and Dr. Kiguli-Malwadde Elsie attended the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) 10th Annual Global Health Conference from 7-10 March 2019 at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago, USA. The theme of the conference was” Translation & Implementation for Impact in Global Health.”
The conference was attended by 1700 participants among which included; university students, university faculty members and Global Health experts from 50 nations. The conference had 18 satellite sessions, plenary sessions, debates, oral presentations, poster and panel sessions on varying topics.
Patty Garcia, former Minister of Health from Peru gave a passionate key note address on Corruption and Global Health, confronting the world’s history on corruption and its impact on health highlighting examples from Peru. She also mentioned that it could be the defining moment between life and death and that corruption is an elephant which is an underlying factor to poor health outcomes that is not talked about.
An intriguing debate was held on “The fields of Global Health prioritizing existing threats, including climate change and environmental degradation, over more proximate health concerns.’’ Presenters noted the fact that whereas these are important aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals, one needs to look at each with its own dangers and each of them believed that if their motion was not looked at critically, it could wipe out humanity.
Dr. Kiguli-Malwadde presented in a panel titled ‘Diversifying the Global Health knowledge pipeline. The various aspects on how to increase the participation of Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) were discussed. It was interesting to note that the participation of women in STEMM worldwide was low although in some developing countries it is more marked.
Dr. Kiguli-Malwadde highlighted that it was imperative that diversity and inclusivity be improved across all aspects of the production of the global health knowledge pipeline – from the recruitment and retention of women and minorities into research careers, to participation in peer review and publishing that reflects the gender and geographic breadth of global health research.
Barriers to the recognition, participation, visibility & advancement of women especially LMIC women was noted, including penalties for motherhood, un-conducive graduate research environments, lack of support for leadership bids, and fewer promotions and resources as well as exclusion of women from the “old boys' club” of science and medicine that nurture the fraternity, networking, and promotion of men. The commitment of the Lancet to improve diversity in publishing was affirmed.
There was a plenary on mental health showcasing progress and challenges in Global Mental health. It was noted that when it comes to mental health, all countries are developing countries. Emphasis on the need to reduce stigma, give supportive care to the mentally ill, prevention and promotion strategies as well as integrating mental health in Primary Health Care cannot be over emphasized.
There were over 39 exhibitors and many special group meetings on the side as well as award ceremonies for distinguished achievers. It was an opportunity to collaborate and address challenges ranging from climate change, environmental degradation, non communicable and infectious diseases, governance, inequality, human rights among others.