Day 5 of Virtual WISH 2020 places emphasis on children’s health and education

Nov 19, 2020 by Qatar Foundation

Closing ceremony delivers messages of hope and a call for collaborative and innovative action forward

Held under theme ‘One World, Our Health’, the 2020 edition of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) closed today with a final exchange of knowledge, innovation, and policy-driven solutions designed to help deliver healthcare in an efficient and cost-effective manner to improve and save lives.

WISH CEO Sultana Afdhal said during the closing ceremony that “as a community, we must remain vigilant to ensure that the battles against existing challenges such as climate change or the health inequalities mentioned by Peter Sands continue to be fought and that we ultimately prevail.

“While there were many warnings that the world was woefully ill-prepared in the event of a global pandemic, there is no excuse for not learning the lessons, and addressing these head on.”

In the final keynote address, His Excellency The Honorable Pravind Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Mauritius, addressed his country’s COVID-19 response. He said: “Having fair and equal access to safe, effective, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines is key to changing the course of the pandemic and helping countries move toward a resilient recovery.”

Ahead of World Children’s Day on November 20, the final WISH panels amplified the summit focus on the health of children.

High level panelists participating in sessions across the day included Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex; Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation; and Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Chile.

A panel discussion on the role of schools in child and adolescent health featured a presentation by Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, of a report commissioned by WISH for the summit. The session offered an opportunity to consider case studies from around the world and identify comprehensive ways to take advantage of the “social vaccine” that schools can provide.

Ahead of a panel discussion that explored toxic stress and PTSD in children, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, Surgeon General of California, gave a presentation based on a new WISH report that examined the effects of long term-stress on children’s physical and mental development, which are likely to continue into adulthood, and strategies to mitigate these ill effects.

At the start of the day, Omani artist, Safiya Al Bahlani, a disability rights activist, spoke on personal resilience in her masterclass. This echoed sessions delivered on previous days by Yasmin Mogahed, Giles Duley, and Alastair Campbell. Supporting the mental health and resilience of frontline workers was the topic of the final ‘In Focus’ session in partnership with Nursing Now, which featured the reading of the iconic healthcare-focus poem ‘These Are The Hands’ by its author Michael Rosen.

A hackathon organized by the International Federation of Medical Student Associations presented an interactive way to brainstorm ideas on how to better integrate climate change into health curricula or transform it into a life-long-learning opportunity. A final quick-fire Agora session then debated ‘When Will We Wake up to The Global Health Threats of Climate Change?’

A session titled ‘Women in Innovation’, held in partnership with Qatari-Russian Center for Cooperation, saw leading Russian innovators sharing their experience and knowledge and what needs to be done to unlock women’s potential in health innovation.

The closing ceremony saw Afdhal confirm support for innovators as she announced this year’s

grand prize winners of the WISH Innovation Award competitions; SOSO Care from Nigeria, a micro mobile health insurance startup that enables people to pay for health insurance with recyclable waste; and the Ellen Medical Affordable Dialysis System from Australia. The finalists were chosen from more than 500 applications from 43 countries that included projects focusing on healthcare accessibility, environmental sustainability, COVID-19, and physical therapy.

Afdhal said: “This year’s summit has powerfully demonstrated that as well as COVID-19, there are many other pressing issues that continue to urgently require our focus and expertise and that collaboration is the key to solving global healthcare issues.”

Over the past week, using the very latest in virtual technology, the global WISH community gathered to discuss new evidence-based ideas and best practices in the health care industry.

On the occasion of World Children’s Day, on Friday, November 20, WISH – Qatar Foundation’s global health initiative – has partnered with UNICEF to deliver a special symposium to commemorate the day. Registration is open to all at wish.org.qa


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