Global Child Health from perspectives of academia, philanthropy and industry

Mini Symposium On Global Child Health Participants

Students, researchers and medical practitioners with an interest in Global Child Health gathered at Green Templeton on Friday 22 March for a second mini-symposium. Led by Research Fellow Charles Roehr, NPEU NDPH Clinical Research Fellow Gracia Fellmeth and recent alumnus Davide Bilardi (DPhil Clinical Medicine, 2018), the event was hosted by the college with the support of the Oxford Global Health and Care Systems Society as the sequel to a successful event held in 2022.

The mini-symposium focused on understanding and promoting collaboration between three key sectors, academia, philanthropy and industry, and welcomed four plenary speakers who shared their perspectives from these sectors.

Mini Symposium On Global Child Health Panel

Panel discussion

As Charles explained, the college welcomed four ‘enthused top-tier speakers from academia, industry, and philanthropy to share their wealth of experience with our super-engaged Green Templeton students, and other Oxford academics engaged in global health.’ Professor Michael Cappello, Interim Director of Yale Institute for Global Health, described the challenges facing child deworming programmes in Africa, while Dr Katy Hayward of AstraZeneca outlined lessons from her career in the pharmaceutical industry, and Sabena Solomon discussed the ongoing projects and ambitions of GSK Global Health. Finally, the symposium heard from Professor Manu Vatish about the goals of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Maternal Newborn and Child Health Discovery and Tools Team.

‘The day itself was absolutely phenomenal’, Charles concluded, emphasising ‘the enthusiastic and excellent help’ of the Oxford Global Health and Care Systems Society. He requested ‘constructive feedback’ to help plan a third mini-symposium in the next 24 months.

Davide, who is Senior Postdoctoral Researcher at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya, and Visiting Academic at the Oxford Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, observed that the organisers had aimed to ‘create a space where the different stakeholders working on Global Child Health can interact with each other and with the participants in a very open and dialogical way. The main outcome for me was confirming that despite starting from different perspectives, the convergence of academia, philanthropic institutions, and the private sector remains focused on the well-being of children worldwide.’

Between talks, attendees divided into three breakout groups, led by the speakers, to explore a single example scenario – the growing use of caffeine to treat infants with breathing difficulties – from the perspectives of philanthropy, industry, or academia, and reconvened to compare notes and solutions.

Lisha Jeena Presenting At Mini Symposium On Global Child Health

Lisha Jeena

There was also a display of posters of original research by students and early career scholars, from among which were selected a winner by committee, Lisha Jeena et al, Low bone density accrual and increased inflammation in Zimbabwean adolescents with perinatal HIV, and a winner by popular vote: Christiane Hagel et al, One does not simply design a dashboard: Understanding performance dashboards for quality of newborn care efforts in Kenyan hospitals.

Nuffield Department of Population Health Clinical Research Fellow Gracia Fellmeth, who organised the poster competition, highlighted that ‘critical engagement between the different sectors is crucial to help us understand others’ perspectives and ultimately to work better together to improve global child health.’

Mini Symposium On Global Child Health Poster Competition Display

Davide concluded that he was, ‘proud, once again, of the way Green Templeton and the Oxford community engaged in the debate with the high-level speakers. This is how new ideas, connections and innovative ways forward are generated.’

Created: 2 April 2024