Thoughts on the upcoming RM

Thoughts on the upcoming RM

In 1 day, 11 hours and 13 minutes, I will be heading to Québec Jean Lesage International airport for the beginning of an adventure. This adventure will take me to the small country of Uruguay (Montevideo, to be precise), where I will take part in the 2016 IFMSA regional meeting for the Americas.

But who am I? William Enlow, 1st year med student and local officer for global health (LOGH) at Université Laval. I love to travel (seems appropriate), read and write (also appropriate considering this blog) and music (I guess something to listen to on the plane?). I got involved with IFMSA to make a difference while discovering the world and wonderful people, which is exactly what I will be doing next week!

Ever since I found out I was going to Uruguay, I’ve been reading a bit about the country, and I’m truly impressed!

Did you know that Uruguay is approximately 57 times smaller than Canada and 9 times smaller than Quebec? Don’t let its size fool you, Uruguay is the most economically developed country in South America, not to mention its very progressive policies on issues which are still hot topics in North America.

But we (David, Aline, Charles-Antoine, Lucy and I) are not travelling to Uruguay to praise these policies (although, they might make good small talk… but that’s not the point!). We are travelling to this country to discuss healthcare in the Americas as a whole. This will be a remarquable opportunity to analyse the different approaches to medicine that every country brings to the table. Culture will of course play a major role in all discussions, as no country has the same sets of beliefs. Another important thought to consider is that the region of the Americas encompasses countries from both the low and the high ends of the human development index. Making a stand that will please all countries will thus be very difficult, but not impossible to achieve. I’m thrilled to be able to participate in this form of international collaboration.

Naturally, I have my own private agenda!

1. Discover projects conducted by other local officers which could potentially be conducted in Quebec: Although this may seem like corporate espionnage, I am told it is not frowned upon and is actually encouraged. Hurrah for collaboration!

2. Discuss neglected diseases and their impact on healthcare in South America: This is certainly the topic I will be focusing on, as all my projects with IFMSA revolve around this issue. It can easily be linked to SCORP, the sessions of which I will be attending. (Unfortunately SCOGH only exists in Quebec 🙁 )

3. Discuss the impact of climate change on health: The SCOGH committee has been focusing a lot on this issue for the past few years and with COP21 last year, it is a fresh topic. Noteworthy enough, Uruguay now gets 94.5 % of its electricity from renewable energy! This derives from the progressive policies I mentioned earlier!

4. Find out more about the culture of Uruguay: This should be fairly easy; one can get a good assessment simply by talking to locals.

5. Have fun! (After all, we are missing school 😛 ) I look forward to collaborating with my fellow members of the IFMSA-Québec delegation (mentioned previously) and I realize that this is an opportunity to « see the big picture », that is, what IFMSA is all about.

Gotta go pack!