Here’s a slice of what we learned at Summit:
They Go to Die Multimedia Presentation
Perhaps one of the most inspiring and moving part of the 2012 Summit was Jonathan Smith’s multimedia presentation on his documentary in the works–They Go to Die. A Yale epidemiologist, Smith aims to put a face to the tuberculosis research he conducts. Smith emphasized how humanizing an epidemic–in this case, the remarkably high incidence of TB in Subsaharan African miners, is paramount to motivating civil society and engaging policymakers.
Smith began by showing us a video of his friend Clint reciting/rapping a poem about the plight of mine workers. The audience was completely stunned by his passionate and forceful delivery. Repeating “I am sick, tired, dying,” he drilled home the message that we should stand in solidarity with those in suffering. Jonathan Smith then showed us a video clip of his friend Mr. Sagati, explaining that this vignette was meant to show disease in a broader context of life and humanize the cycle of sickness, poverty, and injustice. Mr. Sagati, an old man dying of TB, recounted how the terrible conditions at the mine ruined his health and he was subsequently fired due to his inability to work. His son was forced to take his exact position at the mine and had already begun showing signs of TB. The testimonial was also interspersed with sentimental segments about Mr. and Mrs. Sagati’s courtship and their lives together.
Smith talked about the Voices Campaign, which would GPS tag people who update their health statuses. Supporters would be able to direct resources to clinics in the area, enabling real-time changes to happen. Smith also showed us a clip of the “Story of a Girl,” a part of his Visual Epidemiology Project to garner more support for the Global Fund.
It’s safe to say the audience was completely stunned and inspired by the incredible work Jonathan Smith is doing. We’re waiting impatiently for the full documentary to come out!
Long Haul (Michael Diamond, eradicating polio)
During morning “Long Haul” sessions, Michael Diamond, a professor at Northwestern spoke to us about the importance of eradicating polio. He reiterated much of what Melissa Covelli emphasized in her keynote address Thursday night. By eradicating, not just controlling polio, the World Bank estimates $1.5 billion in savings. Diamond talked about the 4 C’s of partnership: cooperation, coordination, communication, and convergence. He then recounted how Rotary International managed to immunize 2 million children in New Delhi against polio in ONE DAY. India is the poster child for the success of polio eradication, with no new cases of polio since January 2011. Diamond detailed advances that have contributed to the eradication of polio like the creation of a thermostable vaccine and globally coordinated campaigns.
Diamond then spoke about the challenges that polio eradication faces in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. Inherent mistrust of the West in these countries creates a huge barrier to immunization campaigns. For example, a dangerous belief was propagated in Nigeria that polio vaccinations were really an evil ploy by the US to sterilize Muslim countries.
Diamond emphasized how partnership is at the root of the polio campaign–our well-being is tied up with people around the world and we need to direct our resources to aid our fellow man.
Partnership Think Tank
One of my favorite parts of summit was the partnership think tank. To start things off, we went around in a circle and gave a little blurb about our respective partners and projects. Hearing about what other chapters were doing—everything ranging from sanitation projects, maternal health promotion, and implementation of community gardens was so affirming and really put the work that we do into a global context. We then split into small groups and discussed questions like “how can we strengthen the development and impact of GlobeMed projects?” We talked about problems our chapters have faced—language barriers, time zone issues, and keeping members connected to and personally invested in our partners. When we came back together as a group, we shared some of our best practices and condensed them into a rainbow poster. They include…
· Treating our campuses as another partner and investing time in building a coalition on campus
· Finding creative ways to show emotion
· Incorporating GlobeMed into your passion/using your talents to help GlobeMed
· Unpacking buzzwords like solidarity, grassroots, social justice so they are not just abstract concepts
· Incorporating a good balance of facts and visuals into publicity materials