The MassGeneral Hospital for Children and the MGH Center for Global Health hosted the 2018 Pediatric Global Health Summit on October 15. The event drew health care providers, advocates and scientists from the New England area and was highlighted by presentations from pediatricians across the globe.
(From left) Jason Harris, MD, MPH, FAAP, FIDSA, Agnes Binagwaho, MD, PhD, Ronald Kleinman, MD, and Louise Ivers, MBBCH, BAO, MD, MPH, DTM&H following the MassGeneral for Children 2018 Pediatric Global Health Summit Keynote Address.
The meeting kicked off with an address from Agnes Binagwaho, MD, PhD, Vice Chancellor of Rwanda’s University of Global Health Equity, titled “Rwanda’s Journey to Reduce Child Mortality”. Dr. Binagwaho, described by MGHfC’s Pediatric Global Health Division Chief Jason Harris, MD, MPH, FAAP, FIDSA, as “a hero of global pediatric medicine”, recounted the uphill battle she faced as Rwanda’s Minister of Health. “Twenty-five years ago we were so broken, no one was betting a penny on Rwanda,” she said, describing the post-genocide state of her nation. Dr. Binagwaho then recounted Rwanda’s strategies for improving pediatric health that have led to a 75% reduction in infant mortality in the last decade. She emphasized the importance of an approach based on both evidence and equity, and how policy decisions were driven both by data, and the need to ensure that no families and children were left behind. She ended with a call to action for all in the pediatric global health community, saying “We have to always say ‘how can I do better.’ We will make it. We will get there.”
Yap Boum II, PhD, MPH, presents on the need for equitable international partnerships to advance pediatric global health.
The afternoon featured panel discussions on the topics of Borders, Families & Child Health (led by Julia Koehler, MD), Nursing & Global Health (led by Pat Daoust, RN, MSN, FAAN and Kara Olivier, NP, MSN), International Partnerships & Global Health (led by Ryan Carrol, MD, MPH and Stephen Asiimwe, MD, PhD), and Technology and Global Health (led by Kris Olson, MD, MPH, DTM&H). This was followed by a presentation by Md. Jobayer Chisti, MBBS, MMed, PhD, director of clinical research at the icddr,b in Bangladesh who described his journey from pediatric intern watching his patients die of pneumonia, to his pioneering work on bubble-CPAP which reduced the mortality of severe pneumonia in his patients by over two thirds. Yap Boum II, MPH, PhD, the regional director of Epicentre Africa presented on the need for equitable international partnerships to advance pediatric global health. Throughout the day attendees had a chance to review poster presentations, and Caitlin Dugdale, MD, from the ID Division and HMS student Ruchit Nagar received travel awards for their outstanding posters.
“What can you do in the world we have created? Do what is in front of you.” Dr. Griffin said.
The summit concluded with grand rounds given by Marsha Griffin, MD, Professor and Director of Child and Family Health at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine. Dr. Griffin, who spoke in blunt terms about the trauma that is being inflicted on the children living on and passing through the border, emphasized the importance of understanding our patient’s lives and journeys outside the confines of our brief interactions within the hospital and clinic walls. Like Dr. Binagwaho, she issued a call to action, saying “What can you do in the world we have created? Do what is in front of you.”
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