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UN Advancing Global Health NGO Conference Report: Dr Linny Kimly Phuong

Here is a brief outline of some of the topics brought up during roundtable discussions:

* The role of NGOs and civil society in helping achieve the MDGs
* Discussion around challenges to achieving MDGs: emphasis on quick fixes and the concept of donor over-influence.
* Also emphasised the need for initiatives to be more “grassroots” in approach to ensure cultural sensitivity
* Equity, rights and progress towards the MDGs
* Discussion around the importance of accurate data collection; and the fact that social determinants of health, eg) exclusion, equity; as defined by the WHO cannot be measured.
* Strengthening an integrated and systems approach to achieving the health MDGs
* Discussion around potential alliances between community groups and government groups; and how relationships need to be transformed for more effective action
* Achieving the MDGs in our changing world
* Discussed the effect of technology, the internet and the negative influence of unstable infrastructure
* The role of the media

Through various workshops, we were enlightened on:

* the difference between sex and gender, and their influences on health
* a case study of “Utopia”- an indigenous population which was able to create a 17 year life expectancy differential between their people and the rest of the Indigenous Australian population by self determination and protecting cultural traditions
* the determinants of success within transnational coalitions and successful past campaigns including “Make Poverty History”

At the conclusion of the conference, we signed off on a declaration which recognised key steps needed to reach the MDGs by 2015; and appealed for necessary action amongst governments, agencies, corporations and individuals. From attending this conference, I gained a deeper understanding into the many factors contributing to the global MDG target efforts- that it was not just about money, but also factors including but not limited to- infrastructure, culture and the wider environment.

Thank you to the Australian Federation of Medical Women and my sponsor group the International Society of Doctors for the Environment for providing me with this great opportunity.

Dr Linny Kimly Phuong

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