Today is already the last day of this preRegional Meeting and I can only say that everything went beyond my personnal expectations.
Even if I were myself the co-coordinator of the Global Health Equity and Health Systems workshop, I had the chance to learn a lot from the participants. And I was lucky enough to share the experience with Altagracia Mares de Leon, the most lovely and gracious girl of Mexico. She’s an inspiration to me, as she always brings the best out of people.
On the menu of the workshop, we had trainings and small working groups on determinants of health, advocacy, health systems, health equity. We also had the opportunity to visit a national public hospital of Santa Tecla and this was an eye-opening experience. Healthcare structure is a really good indicator of health nation-wide and allows you a deeper look into the social and economic reality of the country. During the visit at the hospital, I was shocked and impressed at once: shocked because it was far from the Quebec’s reality I am used to; and impressed because Salvadorian health professioal were doing so much with so little. Just as one exemple, the lack of material is a constant burden on the health professionals, as they must, in their daily practice, ventilate manually their patients for a few hours per day because they don’t have enough machines to do it. I even have a friend who had to do it for two patients for five hours during one of his shift (there’s even a picture somewhere to prove it!)
I had the chance today to hear more about different healthcare systems across the Americas, from Mexico to Chile, with Costa Rica, Peru and a few more in between. This might be one of my favorite activities of this preRM so far, so you see young medical students sharing their knowledge and their thoughts on their national healthsystem. I’ve learned for exemple, that Costa Rica has one of the most admired healthcare system worldwide. I was also able to learn more about the Mexican Public Service, which was implemented not so long ago to achieve this universal health coverage lots of country are aspiring to. And in someways, I was able to better understand my own healthcare system and how it reflects Quebec’s society.
Over the course of the last days, we shared knowledge, we shared inspiration, we shared hope. Slowly, steps by steps, with a few trainings on advocacy and public speaking skills along the way, we were able to turn futur health profesionnals into global health equity advocates. A few more sessions on what can medical students do and how can we tackle the global health challenges of today are still to come, to tool up participants with concrete ideas on what can be done locally, nationally and internationally.
I must say : so far, my stay in sunny Salvador has been closed to perfect. I met amazing and extremely genereous people, who made me feel so welcome in this beautiful country of Central America. And I am only looking for more with a 6-days stay in Los Cabanos, on the Pacific Coast, for the official Regional Meeting !