AIUB Sets Precedence in Global Health Education in Bangladesh

On June 13 and 14, 2014, the 1st Global Health Festival 2014 took place at the American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB) premises and it has marked the beginning of a tradition in Global Health education and awareness among young medical students, dental students and public health professionals. The organizers of the event –Department of Public Health AIUB, USAID Fellows and Debate and Quiz Society (DQS) of Sir Salimullah Medical College (SSMC) worked closely to bring together a program that involved various activities meant to inspire and educate young minds on the importance of Global Health.

The event started off with a ribbon cutting ceremony by the Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of Faculty of Business Administration of AIUB, Prof. Dr. Charles C. Villanueva along with the Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at AIUB, Prof. Dr. Tazul Islam. The participants then moved into the Campus 1 auditorium, after being introduced by a USAID fellow, Prof. Dr. Charles C. Villanueva came on stage to give his welcome speech. He welcomed the audience on behalf of American International University-Bangladesh and thanked all the organizers of the event for all their hard work and dedication.  He highlighted the progress AIUB has made in producing public health professionals through the Masters in Public Health program, which began in 2008 and has till date, 280 graduates and 70 students currently enrolled. He then wished the participants good luck and officially commenced the 1st Global Health Festival 2014.

The first event to take place was the Inter-medical Debate Competition and the Extempore Speech Competition. After a one-hour lunch break, a USAID fellow held a 30-minute presentation for all the participants on ‘Understanding Global Health’. After that the debate competition continued into its 2nd round, the Poster Competitions and Under-graduate Quiz Competition began.  As the evening wore on, the competitions moved into their semi-final or final rounds and things really got exciting and competitive for the students. The day ended with all but the debate competition reaching a conclusion. The debate semi-final gave us the 2 finalist teams for the 2nd day’s event – Inter-medical Debate Competition Finals.

Day-2 began with a Training New Trainers (TNT) session for all the volunteers of the event. After that, everyone gathered to watch the Debate competition final where two teams battled orally on the significance of the notion of Global Health. At the end of the riveting competition, the judges provided their feedbacks and the winning team was announced. After a short lunch break, all participants, attendees and guests settled into the auditorium for the closing ceremony. Once the organizers of the event were awarded for their hard work, the Chief Guest, Dr. Halida H. Akhter (Chief of Party, NHSDP) was invited on to the stage to give the Key Note Speech. In the Key Note Speech, Dr. Halida H. Akhter emphasized the need to expand our horizon of thinking from Public and Global health being about human disease to being about the human condition. She continued by reiterating the statistics on health in Bangladesh and emphasizing the most important objectives Bangladesh has yet to achieve.  Following that, the Chief Guest and the Special Guests – Prof. Dr. Muzaherul Huq (Chairman of Public Health Foundation of Bangladesh, Prof. Dr. Akhtarun Nahar  (Director at NIPSOM) and Prof. Dr. Dilip Kumar Dhar (Principal of Sir Salimullah Medical College) were called on stage and honored for their presence. After a short thank you speech from Prof. Dr. Ahmad Neaz (Advisor of Masters in Public Health program, AIUB) the prize-giving ceremony began. The names of the winning colleges or institutions are as follows:

Inter-Medical Debate Competition:
Champions - Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College  
Runner-Up - Dhaka Medical College
Best Speaker - Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College  

Under-graduate Quiz Competition
Champions - Dhaka Medical College
1stRunners-Up - Dhaka Medical College
2nd Runners-Up - Sir Salimullah Medical College

Extempore Speech Competition
Champions - Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College
1st Runners-Up - Dhaka Dental College
2nd Runners-Up - Dhaka Medical College

Poster Competition – Scientific
Champions - Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College  
1st Runners-Up – Ibrahim Medical College
2nd Runners-Up - Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Dhaka University

Poster Competition – Informative
Champions – Sir Salimullah Medical College
1st Runners-Up – Rajshahi Medical College
2nd Runners-Up – Dhaka Medical College and Sir Salimullah Medical College

MPH Olympiad
Champions – James P. Grant School of Public Health  
1st Runners-Up – State University
2nd Runners-Up – James P. Grant School of Public Health and American International University-Bangladesh

The program was unique as it involved close collaborations between a public medical college and a private public health institution and participation from 17 medical and dental colleges from across Bangladesh. The 1st Global Health Festival 2014 achieved its aim in stimulating and challenging young minds into developing visions and taking actions for the health of Bangladesh and the Global Community.