By: Nnamdi Chiekwe, Therapeutic Recreation student, Dalhousie University
This past summer I had the opportunity to attend a conference in Accra, Ghana, with a group of African Nova Scotians from varying disciplines. We attended the African Youth and Governance Conference, now the African Youth and Governance convergence, which is held yearly with a difference African country hosting. This conference brought together youth from across the continent as well as from the diaspora for the first time, to discuss the theme of the event, Africa Beyond Aid. Styled like a simulation event, delegates were placed in different committees tackling real and specific issues of the African nations. This conference was truly a humbling and enlightening experience. Attending an international conference was an exciting experience, however, being surrounding by other persons of African descent was truly powerful.
The conference experience was that much more heightened by the people involved and the immediate connections that were made. A global understanding of lived experiences and the perspective in which we understood reality made for great conversation and really enhanced our efforts in formulating resolutions to present at the general assembly. As a part of the Committee on Health, and the chair of this committee, the experience of creating a resolution paper by researching and amending current policies and calling to action different government and international bodies to enhance the quality of care and service put a real-world element to our work. Collaborating with delegates from the continent and diaspora provided rich conversation on reality in many of the African countries, revealing that accessibility, as with many other places globally, is the main issue hindering quality of care.
As a future healthcare professional, this conference was truly an influencing experience in how I now approach topics and conversations surrounding health. It really brought to light the issues around accessibility of services and care that create many disparities in health. Having this understanding of key issues and how to approach and ameliorate them will help make healthcare services go a much longer way.
The Global Health Office website has more information on this and other programs available to African Nova Scotian youth.