Reflections on the 2022 Wales and Africa Health Conference

Categories: NewsPublished On: 17th November, 2022694 words3.6 min read

Reflections on the 2022 Wales and Africa Health Conference

Categories: NewsPublished On: 17th November, 202231.6 min read

Last month, the Wales and Africa Health Links Network (WaAHLN) and Hub Cymru Africa hosted the Annual Wales and Africa Health Conference at the Temple of Peace and Health in Cardiff. It was a brilliant day full of learning and networking, not to mention delicious Nigerian food. We are sure the attendees took something positive from the presentations, discussions and workshops while making professional connections to last into the future.

Hub Cymru Africa hired a photographer to capture images from the first half of the day. We are delighted with the results, which can be seen on our Flickr account.

We also filmed the sessions that took place in the Marble Hall, which we have begun to add to our YouTube channel. They can be watched on this dedicated playlist.

“I now have a better understanding of the link between health and climate change and the responsibility we all have towards global healthcare.” – Feedback from an attendee.

We are thrilled that so many attendees provided positive feedback about the event. Indeed, 59% rated the event as “Excellent” overall and a further 39% as “Good”. There were similar levels of satisfaction with the presenters, networking opportunities, catering, and venue, though several people mentioned the acoustics in the Marble Hall as having room for improvement.

Prof. Kelechi Nnoaham delivering his welcome address. Picture by Nick Treharne

The day began with a warm welcome by Prof. Kelechi Nnoaham, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board’s Director of Public Health and Chair of the Wales and Africa Health Links Network. He introduced the theme for the day, “Empathy,” and emphasised the crucial role it should play in the future of healthcare, both here in Wales and around the world. He also addressed the negative impact that racism and stigmatisation have on the wellbeing of both patients and healthcare providers. Along with the video recording of this speech on our YouTube channel, we have made the full text of it available on our website:

“Wales and Africa health links are one of the ways in which Wales is showing global responsibility.” – Sandy Clubb, Involvement Artist at the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales

We learnt about projects happening in the field in Lesotho, Zanzibar, and Malawi through Wales-Africa health links on such diverse topics as COVID-19, surgery, mental health, and anti-microbial resistance. During the workshops, we also gained valuable insights into how organisations like Hub Cymru Africa, WaAHLN, and the Future Generations Commissioner’s Office are helping individuals and institutions to forge partnerships overseas, apply anti-racist approaches and become more globally responsible.

Tebello Lepheane gave an inspirational afternoon address about how the lack of palliative care facilities in Lesotho led her to founding the Starlight Oasis of Hope Hospice. “In this journey of life, empathy is all that human beings are,” she said, explaining why she was pleased with the choice of theme for the day. “It is our DNA to look after each other. Therefore, I felt I needed to do my responsibility, not to moan about what the government is doing or not doing. We are transferring all that we are from being compassionate, sensitive, laughing, and caring human beings, to […] being global citizens, whereby we will be concentrating on how we can impact one another in the health space wherever in the world it’s possible.”

Dr. Joseph Sunday and Dr. Julia Terry at a stall promoting University of South Wales courses in Public Health. Picture by Nick Treharne

A highlight for many was the panel discussion that concluded the day. Sue Tranka, Chief Nursing Officer for Wales, was on the panel alongside Kelechi Nnoaham and Tina Fahm, the chairs of WaAHLN and Hub Cymru Africa respectively. They articulated the challenges they see in the complex, pressured healthcare systems of today and stressed the need for empathy to be at the core of the solutions to their problems.

“I particularly enjoyed hearing from [Chief Nursing Officer for Wales] Sue Tranka and learning about Hub Cymru Africa’s Anti-Racism Charter.” – Feedback from an attendee

We thank everyone who attended for doing so, and look forward to welcoming you to the next Wales and Africa Health Conference in 2023.