The Lancet GH: Technical meetings, conferences, and agency in global health

17 December, 2022

Citation and extracts of a Comment in The Lancet Global Health, and a comment from me below.

CITATION: Technical meetings, conferences, and agency in global health

Girija Sankar

Lancet Global Health Comment| volume 11, issue 1, e26-e27, january 01, 2023

Published:January, 2023 DOI:

You are a gatekeeper if you meet any of the following criteria. (1) You write, draft, or finalise an agenda for a meeting... (2) You decide who gets to travel and not travel to meetings... (3) Is the restriction on invitations a function of budget, or is the invitation a function of who you think might have the most to say, and therefore, the most money or funding to contribute?... (4) You control a budget... (5) You are privy to closed-door meetings...

If you are at a professional meeting or hold a position of influence, you have a responsibility to be inclusive of people who do not speak, walk, talk, and eat like you do...

COMMENT (NPW): How to make global health communication more inclusive? In my view, trying to persuade organisers of international conferences to change their priorities will have little if any impact. We need to think of transformative change in how we communicate. I advocate for more investment in communities of practice for global health. HIFA is one of many: Communities of practice are much more inclusive. They are much more environmentally sustainable. And they are active 24/7/365. Currently they receive minuscule financial support and are therefore unable to reach their full potential, individually and collectively. We need a world with fewer 3-day international conferences and stronger 365-day virtual asynchronous communications. Indeed they can and should be complementary, together with virtual events. They go together. Discussions on HIFA are repeatedly energised by being scheduled in the run-up to major conferences and/or virtual events, providing inclusive content for those meetings and benefiting from reports reflecting back to HIFA afterwards.

Better integration of international face-to-face conferences + communities of practice + virtual events. Isn't this a no-brainer? What do you think?

Dr Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator

Healthcare Information For All

Global Healthcare Information Network

Working in Official Relations with the World Health Organization

20,000 members, 400 supporting organisations, 180 countries, 6 forums, 4 languages