Summit session in collaboration with Qatar Medical Students’ Association is told young people are “invaluable” in the global healthcare workforce
The power of enabling the younger generation to play their part in building better and healthier communities, and involving future healthcare leaders in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, has been tackled during the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) 2020.
The international gathering of health expertise, organized by Qatar Foundation’s (QF) global health initiative, featured a session titled Empowered Youth for a Healthier Community in partnership with Qatar Medical Students’ Association (QMSA), a youth-led organization under the umbrella of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations which aims to inspire and equip medical students in Qatar to take an active role in healthcare.
Youth are a major part of the global healthcare workforce. This means the perspectives of youth are not merely needed, they are simply invaluable
Moderated by Khalid Abougalala, a third-year medical student at Qatar University and Vice-President for External Affairs at QMSA, it saw young people coming together to share their perspectives on the role and achievements of youth in the healthcare sector.
Eglė Janušonytė, Vice-President for External Affairs at the International Federation of Medical Students Association, who was among the session’s speakers, said: “Today, the earth’s youth population constitutes 1.8 billion people, which is the largest number in the history of humanity. If we truly wish to follow the United Nations principle of leaving no one behind, there is no way not to consider youth populations.
“Youth are a major part of the global healthcare workforce. This means the perspectives of youth are not merely needed, they are simply invaluable.”
Among the speakers was Yasmeen Al Shanableh, a fourth-year medical student at Qatar University, and the National Officer on Human Rights and Peace 2020/21 at QMSA. She highlighted QMSA’s initiatives that focuses on empowering youth to address issues that matter to their communities, including healthcare.
“We have trained medical students and healthcare students on a vast range of focus areas targeted by our six different committees that include social inequity, mental health, child abuse, and gender-based violence,” she explained. “We have also focused our efforts during the year on tackling mental health issues, with multiple projects that were brought together by healthcare students.
We, as the youth, are going to form the next generation of healthcare providers, and we need to be directly involved in the change that we are advocating for and what we are trying to create
“We, as the youth, are going to form the next generation of healthcare providers, and we need to be directly involved in the change that we are advocating for and what we are trying to create.”
According to Dana Al Ali, a fifth-year medical student at QF partner university Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, and QMSA’s Vice President for Members 2020/21, some organizations are still hesitant about collaborating with the youth, but when there is meaningful youth participation in a project, it can grow exponentially and realize its potential.
Highlighting QMSA’s contribution to the fight against COVID-19, Al Ali said: “We collaborated with 12 regional student-led organizations and the Ministry of Public Health in Qatar, and we were able to recruit more than 100 volunteers who worked for more than 2,500 hours, all collectively contributing to flattening the curve of the virus here in Qatar.
“We helped in raising public awareness, and in policy-making documentation. We managed hotlines and we also help with contact tracing and investigations with the ministry.
“We also collaborated with the World Psychiatric Association and Sidra Medicine to launch the first inaugural medical student conference on psychiatry and mental health, where we had well-renowned psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health specialists working alongside healthcare students.”