Published: 16-04-2018 13:43 | Updated: 17-04-2018 07:07

Conference on Global Health gathers researchers and students from the country’s institutes of higher learning

Jordglob. Foto: iStock

Sustainable development and global health is receiving a great deal of attention at Karolinska Institutet this week. Now, it is time to stop talking and start acting, states Tobias Alfvén, one of the organizers behind The Swedish Global Health Research Conference 2018, being held on April 18-19.

What is this conference about?

“It is based on the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that the countries of the world have committed to attaining. It is something that is receiving increasing attention; but currently, there is more talk than action. A great deal of research is being done in Sweden that is relevant to these issues and addresses global health and other areas. But, working independently, each of us at our own country’s institutes of higher learning, is insufficient if we want to make a global difference; that demands collaborative thinking and working. The objective of the conference is to act as a forum for researchers, students and others who want to find a way to contribute.”

What kind of conference is it?

“We want the conference to be as rewarding as possible, and therefore, feel that there needs to be more than just lectures, even if such can be excellent and inspiring. Thus, more than half of the conference is being given to workshops for smaller groups, where the participants can take the opportunity to discuss specific issues.”

Can you give a few examples?

“Each participant will be able to reflect on how they, themselves, can contribute to the sustainability goals in terms of their own research or involvement, as well as the challenges that surround the next step, such as getting funding for their research or managing ethical issues. Another group of workshops is based on different research themes, such as pediatric health, safe abortions and antibiotic resistance.”

How much interest is there, in the conference?

“There will be twice as many participants as we first expected, so interest has exceeded all of our expectations. We are seeing an especially strong response from students throughout Sweden, which is gratifying. I think this reflects a general growing interest for the bigger issues. Many believe that contributions arising solely from their own specializations are insufficient and instead are seeking a broader perspective, which requires getting together and exchanging thoughts and experiences.”

What do you hope the participants will take away from the conference?

“That they will, even more clearly, realize and know how they can participate in and contribute to the 2030 Agenda."

Text: Ola Danielsson