By M. Walid Qoronfleh, PhD, MBA, Director of Research and Policy, WISH
ARE YOU A CONFERENCE FAITHFUL?
How many conferences do you attend a year? What impact have you felt and what value do you derive from it?
WISH was in attendance at an international conference held in Islamabad, Pakistan late 2019. Between 30 November – 1 December I represented WISH at the 4th International Conference on Patient Safety organized by Riphah Institute of Healthcare Improvement & Safety and hosted by Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU), Rawalpindi, Pakistan where I gave an oral presentation on “Can healthcare be more RELIABLE?” and participated in two panels “Leadership in Health Care” and “Patient Safety Global Perspective”
From the start of the trip, I had a different feeling about this conference. This is the first time in my career I travel to Pakistan. Also, it appeared to be a different type of patient safety conference.
In retrospect, it is fairly easy to cite impressive statistics such as:
- Dr. Zafar Mirza, Minister of Health, graced the inaugural session as the chief guest
- 13 international patient safety experts from around the globe spoke at the conference
- 72 national experts contributed to the various sessions
- More than 900 participants including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, allied healthcare professionals, health managers, government officials & students attended the conference
- Imperial College, London and University Hospitals Geneva conducted a workshop on “Infection Prevention & Antimicrobial Resistance”
- Patient Safety Champion Awards for Physician, Nurse, Pharmacist & Hospital were given for the first time in this year’s conference.
- Patient Safety in Dentistry workshop was conducted for the first time ever.
- A dedicated session on Patient Engagement was conducted by patient advocates to emphasize the role of patients and media in advocating patient safety.
- Like previous years, dedicated sessions on Nursing and Medication Safety were organized as well.
Equally important, WISH along with the organizers distributed 2 reports “Safety in Maternity” & “Global Core Standards for Hospital Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs” in the conference packet handed to participants. Up to this point, nothing seems unusual regarding this conference attended by professionals.
However, on the first day of the conference the number of medical students from RMU attending and participating amazed me without any exaggeration literally close to 600 students from all grade levels. So, what separates these student attendees from perhaps other similar events. Throughout the duration of the conference during coffee breaks, lunch occasions, end of the day gatherings and evening events I met and spoke with these phenomenal students. I have come to learn that the majority of these students are
- curious, eager, possess insatiable appetite for learning and hard working
- already aware of WISH reports even prior to the conference
- patient safety oriented and that these reports have been incorporate in their curriculum
- applying their knowledge and practicing what they learn in the classroom
In speaking with the Chancellor of RMU he emphasized that their mission is to prepare and train the next generation of medical and healthcare leaders. In this vein, stressing how valuable WISH work is, above all influencing the global healthcare community especially for recognized countries with resource constraints.
There are numerous times when we either do not value or appreciate the little things we do that sometimes make a great societal impact. I came away with an extreme sense of pride for not only meeting and recognizing these students effort but also for the utmost value of evidence-based research, policy frameworks and being part of a team / organization that is making a difference on the ground. Truly, WISH is living up to being a global healthcare community dedicated to capturing and disseminating the best evidence-based ideas and practices (forum reports, policy briefings, research, etc.), whilst contributing to a healthier world through our partnerships and collaborations.