The current COVID-19 pandemic shines a light on how interconnected we are as a global society, as well as the inequalities that persist. The rapid spread of this new disease is due in large part to the way that power and privilege play out in the provision of healthcare worldwide. In a recent virtual seminar hosted by Swiss TPH, researchers, frontline workers and participants in global health came together via Zoom or participated in the live-stream via YouTube to address this topic and work together towards solution-oriented change.
Women in Global Health opened the virtual seminar with their initiative Operation 50/50, which calls for equal representation for women, particularly those from the Global South, in global health leadership. This was followed by a panel discussion in which experts reflected on the voices that have been amplified in the fight against COVID-19 up to now, and the voices that they would like to see leveraged moving forward. The virtual seminar is part of a greater series hosted by Swiss TPH called #TogetherApart Seminars.
Roopa Dhatt, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Women in Global Health, opened the panel discussion by addressing diversity beyond gender. "90% of the workforce responding to COVID-19 are women. Gender is one dimension, but we need to use an intersectionality approach looking at race, age, socio-economic factors and more to ensure diversity." The panel and participants also discussed topics such as mutual learning for change, their vision of the future of global health and brainstormed together how we, as a collective society, can work together to ensure that no one is left behind.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Swiss TPH began to host virtual seminars to continue to connect collaborators virtually, deepen knowledge and drive engagement both within Swiss TPH and with partners abroad on relevant topics such as disease prevention and control in times of COVID-19, and experiences from China, Africa and Switzerland in addressing COVID-19.
Mutual learning for change: Swiss TPH ramps up digital courses
Swiss TPH offers a unique learning experience in a wide range of topics including international health, epidemiology, public health, infection biology, management and more. Swiss TPH offers undergraduate, master, doctoral and PhD programmes in association with the University of Basel. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland came the concept of social distancing, which prompted Swiss TPH to move most of their courses online. Courses began to provide virtual lessons with digital tools such as Zoom and electronic Learning Management Systems, thus ensuring that the goal of mutual learning for change could continue.
"Although being obliged to switch to online courses rapidly, our experience in blended-learning helped us to up-scale our digital teaching. Thanks to all colleagues, who worked hard to sustain most of our teaching offerings." said Axel Hoffman, Head of the Teaching Technologies and Didactics unit at Swiss TPH. Offering a blended-learning programme (MBA in International Health Management) since 2013, Swiss TPH is well prepared to scale-up the blended approach to education by providing a mix of self-directed learning, virtual and classroom offerings in accordance with the recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).