The Africa Interdisciplinary Health Conference goes virtual
Bixby member Jerry Nutor, PhD, RN, founded the Africa Interdisciplinary Health Conference three years ago because he felt disciplines were too siloed in Africa research. The results of research conducted on the continent were often not presented there, leaving people who made the work possible in the dark about the outcome. He envisioned a place for new collaborations across the global north and south and stronger relationships that would benefit public health. As Dr. Nutor wrote in The Conversation earlier this year, “Sharing results with the people who are most affected by them makes us better researchers and ensures that our work can be used to improve people’s lives.”
The AfIHC provides a platform for clinicians and researchers to share their work, rotating location to a different country each year. The 3rd annual conference was set to be held in South Africa, but like most events it has gone virtual in the age of COVID-19. Dr. Nutor and his team have been nimble with reimagining the conference and adding new content relevant to the global public health crisis caused by the pandemic.
“The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented us with the unprecedented opportunity to use an interdisciplinary approach to promote Universal Health Coverage and Technology in Africa,” said Dr. Nutor. “AfIHC 2020 is the ideal platform for us to discuss innovative ways to prevent or handle pandemics such as COVID-19 using an interdisciplinary approach.”
The virtual format will allow people around the world to participate in 3 days of panels and presentations on 5 major themes: COVID-19: current and future perspectives; interdisciplinary education and training of healthcare workers in Africa to advance universal health care; nurses and midwives as interdisciplinary partners in delivering universal health care; an interdisciplinary response to emerging infectious diseases in Africa; and interdisciplinary research frameworks for south-south and north-south research collaboration. Bixby member Dr. Patience Afulani will be featured on a panel discussing a case study in Ghana on healthcare providers’ preparedness to manage COVID-19.
While people won’t be able to network in person, the team behind AfIHC is adapting to ensure that the virtual version of the conference maintains an emphasis on building community and inspiring collaboration. Participants will be able to engage with the presenters and other attendees through Zoom and online chat. Registration for the conference is still open. Interested health professionals, academics, students and other stakeholders can find out more and register on the AfIHC website.