Between the 25th of February and the 7th of March, MMSA was present at the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) General Assembly March Meeting 2018 in Hurghada, Egypt. This is a bi-annual meeting of all National Member Organisations (NMOs) of IFMSA.
The meeting is split into 2: the Pre-General Assembly (Pre-GA) between the 25th and 28th of February, and the General Assembly (GA) between the 1st and 7th of March.
MMSA was represented at the GA by: Jordy Borg (MMSA President), Miguel Fenech (MMSA VPe), Mathias Abela (MMSA PRO), Claire Attard (MMSA PREO-Out), Jessica Darmanin (MMSA PREO-In), Josef Camilleri (MMSA Leisure Officer), Sarah Suleiman (MMSA Public Health Officer), Alex Esposito (SCOPH Secretary), , Jessica Barbara (MMSA Sexual and Reproductive Health Officer), Jessica Dowling (MMSA Electives Officer) and Craig Muscat (MMSA Blood and Organ Donation Coordinator).
The General Assembly is over 5 working days, which are packed with activity:
- Standing Committee/Presidents’/NMO Management Sessions – these were sessions which related to all the different divisions in both IFMSA and MMSA. These included Presidents’ Sessions (attended by Jordy and Miguel), NMO Management (Mathias), Professional Exchanges – SCOPE (Claire), Research Exchanges – SCORE (Jessica Darmanin and Josef), Public Health - SCOPH (Sarah and Alex), Sexual and Reproductive Health – SCORA (Jessica Barbara), Medical Education - SCOME (Jessica Dowling), Human Rights and Peace – SCORP (Craig Muscat). Here, topics related to the different divisions were discussed and current practices of the NMOs in those fields were exchanged. In Presidents’ sessions, matters related to the general functioning of IFMSA were discussed.
- Joint Sessions – These were sessions which were a collaboration of two or more Standing Committees. One example was Public Health Exchanges between SCOPH and SCOPE.
- Theme event – This is related to the theme of the GA, which was two-fold: Action Towards Global Epidemics and Outbreaks: Hepatitis C and Universal Health Coverage and the Road to 2030. This contains several external speakers and experts who shared their insight with the delegates.
- Regional Sessions – where all the different regions of IFMSA (Europe, Americas, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Eastern Meditterranean) assemble to discuss region-specific issues. Regional Standing Committee sessions also take place here.
- Training Sessions – Delegates took the chance to train in soft skills such as fundraising, PR, policy and leadership.
- Policy Document Discussion – where the policy documents were discussed and amended prior adoption by IFMSA at that GA.
- Exchanges Fair – where we had the opportunity to showcase our exchange program to all NMOs, and got an honorable mention for the most eco-friendly stand!
- Activities Fair – where MMSA delegates got to know about projects carried out by other NMOs, and also have the opportunity to showcase our #DontSugarcoatIt and #LetsEndIt campaigns.
- Rex Crossley Awards – Projects by many NMOs where nominated, and the shortlisted top 10 got to present their projects to all delegates. Our Public Health Team got shortlisted with ‘Mind, Heart and Body’, and was awarded the third best project!
- Plenary Sessions – where bylaw changes were proposed, amended and approved, policy documents and reports were adopted and candidates for the IFMSA Executive Board 2018 – 2019 presented their candidature and were elected.
Furthermore, we sent a separate group of members to develop their skills at the Pre-GA. The Pre-GA contains a selection of workshops which aim to develop skills – both general (such as leadership, communication, public speaking etc.) and related to a particular field in the federation (administration, public health, human rights and peace etc.). 7 MMSA members were present:
- Alex Esposito and Craig Muscat attended Public Health Leadership Training (PHLT) – They were trained in several aspects of public health, with a special focus in Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR). “With the introduction of the hackathon during PHLT, I had the opportunity to implement all the skills learnt throughout this workshop by presenting a project on Anti-microbial resistance in developing countries together with four other international medical students.” – Craig
- Tamara Muscat and Raphael Kotun attended Women's Reproductive Health and Safe Access to Abortion workshop – it gave the participants a clear insight to some of the many reasons an abortion is requested, the medical and surgical abortion methods and what happens following this procedure. “Compelling discussions, brainstorming, presentations, quizes, role-plays, videos, court cases and other activies were practiced to achieve this workshop's aim- access to safe abortion prevents maternal deaths in women who undergo unsafe abortions.” - Tamara
- Christian Debono Sant Cassia attended Advanced Medical Education Training (AMET) – it taught participants how to identify problems in one's medical school and how to advocate for beneficial changes. “Medical student involvement, targeted strategies, curriculum design were some of the techniques discussed which aimed at improving the overall medical education for the entire medical faculty” – Christian
- Daniel Nicholas Zammit attended International Training on Disaster Medicine (ITDM) – participants got to know what disaster medicine is, and what it involves – “The workshop taught us how a disaster should be managed both pre and post hospital. We also had a simulation, which enabled the group to apply what we learnt, throughout the sessions.” – Christian
- Mark Muscat attended Human Rights for Medical Practitioners – it entailed several sensitive yet necessary points such as advocacy, medical ethics, stigmatization and sustainable development. “We assessed how these are influenced according to country and culture and how we, as medical students, can further work on these to improve the quality of life in our own countries as well as around the rest of the world.”
MMSA members at the Pre-GA
A full report is being compiled and will be disseminated to our members. A big congratulations goes to our delegates who have made the most of the Pre-GA and GA, and we look forward to see what ideas and opportunities they will provide the association.