IHF members at the WHA: Strengthening global connections in Geneva

Date:  21 June 2024

IHF members at the WHA: Strengthening global connections in Geneva

In May 2024, the 77th World Health Assembly brought together global health leaders. As a non-state actor in official relation with the World Health Organization, the IHF can actively participate to the WHO’s governance meetings. For the first time, we extended this opportunity to IHF members and we were delighted to welcome representatives from three IHF members: the Emirates Health Services, the Portuguese Association of Hospital Managers, and the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties. 

Valuable networking opportunities 

Choosing Geneva as the IHF’s headquarters was a strategic decision to strengthen relations with other global institutions and NGOs. Known as “International Geneva”, the city offers a unique platform for exchanging ideas with peers from diverse countries and expertise areas. It serves as a hub of exchange with actors in the health ecosystem, providing an enriching experience for IHF Members.  

Dr Xavier Barreto, President of the Portuguese Association of Hospital Managers shared “I wanted to come here for the experience. It is a unique opportunity to meet people and network.“ For Dina Alismail, Executive Director at the  Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, attending the WHA was a great opportunity to exchange knowledge and expertise,” I was excited to come to the WHA to learn about different aspects about global health and policies”. Likewise, Dr Kalthoom Al Blooshi, Chief Innovation Officer and Director of the Training and Development Center at Emirates Health Services, also appreciated the chance to share expertise with delegates from various countries, emphasizing the importance of such interactions. 

For Dr Xavier Barreto, being able to attend the WHA was also very valuable. After attending the opening session, he shared The idea of global health is very important to us and what better place than the WHA to gain insights and discuss on this topic. I have already met with the Portuguese delegation, and I hope to keep meeting people and to participate in several sessions on topics that are very important”. The visit was also an opportunity to connect with representatives of our members’ country Permanent Missions as well as national delegates also attending the WHA. Furthermore, during the WHA many side events and meetings happening in parallel, and we offered the opportunity to attend some of them, such as the Geneva Health Forum or a side meeting with executives of other NGOs partners of the IHF.  

Hospital Visit: discover the HUG 

In addition to attending the WHA, we had the privilege to visit the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG) and the Swiss Foundation for Innovation and Training in Surgery (SFITS). We are proud to collaborate with HUG, an IHF member, and we are happy to support our members with hospital visits in Geneva. This visit provided valuable insights into surgical training and the research environment for professionals working in operating rooms. Dr Kalthoom Al Blooshi found the visit very insightful and interesting, “I’m definitely taking back many learnings to my country. And not only that but this could be the start of a new collaboration. In any case, I’m very happy to be here”. Dina Alismail was also delighted that we got to visit the SFITS. “It was my first time learning about surgical training. It was an amazing experience” she shared.  

At the IHF, we are committed to connecting members across our global community, learning from each other’s experiences and good practice. Attending events like the WHA with IHF Members is a great way to promote global learning and knowledge exchange.  Given the success and the positive feedback, we will turn this experience into the first edition of a new IHF offering for our members. Stay tuned for more information coming before the end of the year.  

Written by:

Victoria Del Pozo

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