Abeer Ahmad & Lydia Shotton about their year as SIGHT Student Coordinators 2019–2020
By Abeer Ahmad & Lydia Shotton: Here is a round up of what we did in our year as SIGHT Student Coordinators.
Participated in the organisation and delivery of the EAT Stockholm Food forum side event on ‘Transforming the Food System with Youth’
For our first event, we helped organise the side event on ‘Transforming the Food System with Youth,’ as part of the EAT Stockholm Food Forum, where seven youth leaders, including representatives from the SIGHT Student Organisation Network, pitched their visions and ideas for food system transformation. We also facilitated a group discussion related to how we could enable these ideas to become a reality. As a framework for those discussions and to ensure productive dialogues, an innovative tool was used which drives the design of solutions in which everyone’s perspective is valued. This tool was developed by EAT as part of the EU Horizon 2020 project called CO-CREATE. In the end, one of us attended the EAT conference, among other youth representatives from Sweden, Norway, and other neighbouring countries as youth delegates. As the main discussion theme was on the planetary diet, it was a very valuable experience.
Participated and co-organised the Global Health Night at Karolinska Institutet.
It was a great experience being able to help organise and participate in last year’s Global Health Night.The event was hosted by Karolinska Institutet in collaboration with the Swedish Institute for Global Health Transformation (SIGHT), the Mother and Child Association (MACHA), IFMSA Sweden, SLF Student and Svenska Läkaresällskapet, and the Swedish Organization for Global Health (SOGH).
Anders Nordström who is the Swedish Global Health Ambassador was one of the main speakers alongside Johan Lundin (Professor at Karolinska Institutet), Anna Sjöblom (Medical Humanitarian Advisor at Médecins Sans Frontiers), and Jessica Zhang who is a medical student. The theme of the event was “An Excess of Lacking Resources,” which produced fantastic conversations about a very relevant issue in global health.
Organised and hosted the Annual SIGHT Award Ceremony under the theme: Better Health for Refugee Women and Children
We were very happy to create, organise and host the third SIGHT annual award event!
On the 5th of November, students and faculty staff from Gothenburg and from other parts of Sweden joined us at the Aula hall in Gothenburg to discuss better health for refugee women and children and to present last year’s SIGHT award. An important consideration when planning this event was to have strong student participation and engagement from those passionate about challenges in global health.
The ceremony started with a keynote speech by Birgitta Essén, a Professor in International Maternal and Reproductive Health at Uppsala University. Professor Solvig Ekblad (Karolinska Institutet), Professor Bo Jacobsson (Sahlgrenska University Hospital), Katarina Carlzén (Director Partnership Skåne), and Professor Johan Von Schreeb (Karolinska Institutet) joined us for the panel discussion. Sara Causevic, who is part of the SIGHT secretariat and a PhD student at Karolinska Institutet moderated the event. The panellists offered some examples of solutions that have been offered and the need for decision-makers to be actively involved in understanding, evaluating and replicating them. It was great to see such strong student engagement both in the questions for the panellists submitted during registration and also in the Q&A session following the panel discussion.
We also had the pleasure of welcoming the professor and writer, Stefan Einhorn, who offered the audience some words of wisdom through a personal story about his father’s experiences during the German occupation of Poland during World War II. The SIGHT award was then presented to Claudia Hanson (Karolinska Institutet) by Professor Max Petzold from the University of Gothenburg. It was very fitting that the SIGHT award for 2019 was awarded for Claudia’s research into improving maternal and newborn health in low resource settings.
All in all, the event was a great success thanks to the many passionate speakers of the evening and engaged audience, many of whom were students from Gothenburg.
Hosted a youth consultation with the SIGHT Student Organisation Network in preparation for the 2nd World Youth Assembly for Road Safety
In preparation for our attendance at the 2nd World Youth Assembly for Road Safety, we hosted a dynamic and inspiring youth consultation at the SIGHT offices with representatives from our Student Organisation Network. As participants of this youth consultation, we were tasked with discussing road safety in the area in which we live in – in this case, Stockholm. We had a lively brainstorming session in which we shared the challenges we face related to road safety in Stockholm, what we ask of decision-makers based on these challenges and which commitments we are willing to commit to as youth to improve road safety in the area we live in.
Attended the 2nd World Youth Assembly for Road Safety
In February, one of us had the opportunity to attend the 2nd World Youth Assembly for Road Safety, which happened to be in Stockholm this year. The event was very impressive and included many different types of activities and talks. We listened to the testimonies of those who had personally experienced tragedies related to road safety and listened to youth leaders and change-makers who are working tirelessly in their respective countries and communities to put road safety at the top of the agenda. There were also many workshops on different SDGs related to road safety. I think one of the most valuable takeaways from this assembly was the provision of a space in which youths from all over the world, who are all actively involved in road safety work, can share best practices and advise others on how to make an impact in their respective countries. This exchange of knowledge was inspiring to see and key for participants to get something meaningful from attending the assembly.
Also, February 2020 marked the launch of our first seminar in our SIGHT Seminar series with Sibylle Herzig Van Wees on “Health Politics”!
Another event which took place in February was our first seminar in our seminar series on ‘Health Politics’ which was led by Sibylle Herzig Van Wees. Sibylle is a senior lecturer and course leader of the “Health Politics” module in the Master’s Programme of Global Health at Uppsala University. This seminar was held at the SIGHT office and involved very engaged discussions from all participants and Sibylle on the topic of health politics in global health, a topic which often is not included in the curriculum of global health and related programmes, so we considered it important to play a role in encouraging discussions on this subject.
Based on the follow-up evaluation and feedback, the seminar was a huge success and scored a very high score in terms of learning new insights about the “Health Politics” topic, instructor’s engagement, and coordination.
Hosted our second seminar in the series for the SIGHT Student Organisation Network with Dr. Sahar Nejat on ‘Power Structures in Global Health’
In April of 2020, we hosted a second seminar in the SIGHT seminar series on the subject of ‘Power structures in Global Health’ and was led by Sahar Nejat, who is a Paediatric Public Health and Immunization Advisor at Stockholm County. Attending the seminar were representatives of different student organisations, including SOGH, MACHA, SNIH, IFMSA Sweden and KUF. Sahar spoke of her personal experiences working with international organisations in refugee camps and the political aspect associated with it. This led to very active discussions with the students on how they could address and handle similar situations in both their current and future work and how to increase awareness among students of the large influence politics has on global health.
Based on the follow-up evaluation and feedback, the seminar was a huge success – with students reporting that they gained new insights about the topics and how much they enjoyed the presentation and discussion with Sahar.
The Power Structures in Global Health seminar and our youth consultation on the topic of the WHO/UNICEF/Lanceet Comission report.
Hosted our second youth consultation with the SIGHT Student Organisation Network on the topic of the WHO/UNICEF/Lancet Commission report on Child Health and Well-Being in the SDG era and on the Swedish launch event
In February 2020, the WHO/UNICEF/Lancet Commission report on Child Health and Well-Being in the SDG era was published. The report was centred around placing children at the centre of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and suggests a number of key recommendations to drive this new perspective. Alongside the main launch event which took place in February to disseminate the findings of the report, there are also country/regional launch events being planned, and Sweden is one of these participating countries.
As there was a strong emphasis from the Swedish launch event organising committee to include the perspective of students and youth, we organised and hosted a youth consultation with the SIGHT student organisation network. Joining us for consultation were three very exciting guests – Tobias Alfvén, Associate Professor at KI and main coordinator of the Swedish launch event; Stefan Peterson, the Associate Director, Programme Division, and Chief of Health at UNICEF, and one of the Commissioners for the WHO/UNICEF/Lancet Commission on Child Health and Well-Being; and Melinda Henry, who is a project manager (Senior Expert Consultant) at the WHO and has been coordinating the global, regional and country launches of this Lancet Commission report.
The youth consultation itself was a big success, starting with the presentation of the main findings from the report by Stefan, one of the Commissioners, which was followed by small-group discussions among students and then the sharing of thoughts about the report and launch event to the whole group. As in a previous seminar we hosted, the consultation was held online via Zoom given the COVID-19 pandemic and once again, this turned out to be a great format in which to host these events, with more people being able to join us.