“We (young people) are experts, we live the experience and through the Global Youth Mobilization we have seen the impact that has been brought by young people. Invest in young people with meaningful engagement!”, a clear call to action made by Global Youth Mobilization (GYM) Youth Board Representative, Helga Mutasingwa, at the opening ceremony of the 2022 World Health Summit on Sunday, 16 October in Berlin.
Helga, a Girl Guide from Tanzania, medical doctor, and digital health entrepreneur, attended the Summit representing World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and the Big 6’s initiative, the Global Youth Mobilization.
Speaking at the opening ceremony and in side-events, Helga called for global health mechanisms and strategies to include the most vulnerable in society, with children, young people, girls and women bearing the brunt of the negative effects of global pandemics. “Taking global health to a new level requires a new global architecture that is coherent and inclusive. Just as the pandemic exposed political vulnerabilities, it also exposed technical and operational vulnerabilities in the world’s collective ability to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks and epidemics”, reiterated WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in his keynote address.
Tharindra Arumapperuma, a Youth Representative on the GYM Board from The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award was due to speak at the event but had her visa denied at the last minute. The underrepresentation from the global south, particularly youth voices, at major international conferences and summits such as this continues to be a major challenge.
Designed to finding innovative solutions to global health challenges, this year’s Summit marks the first time that the Summit has been co-organized with the World Health Organization (WHO) and features more than 300 experts sharing insights on a range of global health challenges.
Through a series of livestreamed debates, presentations and panel discussions there is a clear intention to promote intergenerational dialogues by including a youth perspective in discussions. The presence of youth leaders, such as Helga, is a reminder that the global health architecture must include a youth-centred approach to ensure health rights for everyone now and for generations to come.
Watch the full panel discussion on children and youth perspectives for global here:
About the World Health Summit:
The World Health Summit is the unique international strategic forum for global health. Held annually in Berlin, it brings together stakeholders from politics, science, the private sector, and civil society from around the world to set the agenda for a healthier future by inspiring innovative solutions for better health and well-being for all.
The World Health Summit was founded in 2009 on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. It is traditionally held under the patronage of the German Chancellor, the French President, the President of the European Commission, and the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). President of the World Health Summit is Axel R. Pries, Dean of Charité.