Making History in Australia

The UN DPI/NGO Conference was held in Melbourne, Australia from Monday August 30, to Wednesday, September 1, 2010. The general theme of the conference was “Advance Global Health: Achieve the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals).” The Conference, the largest annual gathering for UN DPI/NGO, highlighted the ways in which civil society, in partnership with other actors, can contribute to fostering global health. Participants included NGO representatives, academia, civil society organizations, grassroots constituencies, media, UN Member States, private sector, UN System and other significant stakeholders.

IMI Delegates participated in a range of workshops that emphasized the need for more integration of health programs, methods to generate outcome data, cost effective delivery, sustainability, and prevention to achieve equity in global health.

As a part of the selective workshops, IMI also hosted a workshop entitled Treating Diabetes to Achieve the MDGs. Taking advantage of leading international authorities and the expertise in diabetic care of Imamia Medics International in developed and impoverished areas, this workshop examined diabetes research, treatments, epidemiology, and health delivery systems. It explored the growth of diabetes in developing countries, and what the global community must do to address the needs of the thousands diagnosed with diabetes every day. The workshop also highlighted the care of diabetes in emergency relief situations, focusing on the concerns arising during Pakistan flood relief activities.

Given the necessity to fulfill a void in the conference program to address relief activities and needs in Pakistan due to the severe flooding, and based on participants requests, IMI also took a portion of the workshop time to discuss the dire need across all relief sectors in Pakistan at that time.

During the course of the conference, IMI collaborated with like-minded organizations to address the inadequate international response to and awareness of the situation in Pakistan due to the severe floods. IMI, in addition to the information session, also co-authored a statement to the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon with the Fred Hollows Foundation, Oxfam Australia, and World Vision to increase international support for Pakistan Flood Relief and calling for a short term debt moratorium. The statement was unanimously adopted by all NGOs present with a standing ovation by all 2000 International delegates. The Chair of the Conference, Dr Mary Norton immediately seconded it with an a quick approval by the Undersecretary General to UN, Dr Akasaka who promised to take it to the Secretary General’s table in New York.

IMI delegates also spoke out on the issue during sessions and were interviewed by various media outlets for international coverage of the situation in Pakistan. The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) World News program aired a segment with IMI delegates speaking about the flood related situation on August 31, 2010 and ABC news presented the statement submitted.

  • It was an excellent once in a lifetime experience. Going with IMI enables us to be treated so well and we could see so many special places. 

    Sabina Syed
  • I want to thank you all for giving me such a great opportunity to be a part of your team (in Haiti). It was a unique experience and I really enjoyed working with you all. 

    Mitra Arjang
  • I cannot express the profound impact IMI has had on my life: from the incredible opportunity to serve on the Arbaeen Medical Mission to the insightful career guidance and special programs for Young Leaders that I’ve benefitted from!

    Mohammed Akbar
  • I graduated from medical college in Pakistan. Knowing I wanted to pursue a specialty in the US, I went through the routine process of studying for and clearing the USMLE's and becoming ECFMG certified. There are plenty of online forums that help you up to that stage. What happens after that and before you land a residency is something no one prepares you for. Even knowing a person who went through the process is not enough. I found the answers to all my questions about the process, its workings and methods at the IMI Career Guidance Seminar. I learnt more in the few hours I spent there than I did in months, yes months, of thorough research online and through the measly networking I was capable of as a foreign graduate. It is literally a live 'Medical Residency for Dummies', and you get great coffee and dinner to boot. I interacted with candidates like myself along with current residents, and doctors who are involved in hiring committees at hospitals. I learnt how to choose programs, how to strengthen my resume, what to seek and where, and even what to wear. I have a month before I apply, but after the seminar - I have more confidence in the 'how' of the process.  I walked in to the seminar hall a nervous wreck - armed with vague internet advice and the intimidation of an overwhelming process. I thought my average scores would filter me out of every hospital program - I left knowing I need to apply 'wisely', not 'widely'. I learnt how to identify and enhance my positives, and overcome my shortcomings. I understood how to streamline programs to apply to, how to contact them and the level of persistence to employ. I was made aware of the importance of and difference between clinical experience in the US and research experience, and how to add both to my resume. All this, and more, in just a few hours. I cannot stress enough the effects this seminar had on me. I am now realistic in my approach - versus the optimism fresh graduates tend to bring with them. You may choose not to believe me, but after the seminar I didn't just breathe a sigh of relief - I let slip a few tears as well. I knew what to do, how to do it and where to ask for assistance. 

    If InshAllah, I secure a residency in the upcoming match, I will owe the organizers and the speakers at the seminar more than they will take credit for. 

    Annie Agha
  • I just wanted to say thanks to everyone on this list for what proved to be a truly life-altering experience.  It was terrific working with all of you, except Farhaj...But seriously, Naeema and some of my other classmates know rather well that I had allowed medical school and the residency process to make me cynical and tired.  I'm happy to say though, that after a week of truly hard work, emotional challenge, and actually helping some people, I have returned home feeling refreshed and renewed.  As corny as this all sounds, I'm actually excited to be a doctor again.  I can't thank you all enough for that. So I'm hooked on relief work.  I hope that I have more opportunities to help in situations like this, and if possible, to work with you all again.

    P. Pratcha (IMI Relief: Haiti)
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