University of Limerick conference examines community health empowerment

Jess Casey

Reporter:

Jess Casey

Holly English of the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, Dr Anca Minescu, Dr Khalifa Elmusharaf, Deborah Tudge and Noreen O’Malley Picture: Zoe Conway/ilovelimerick

Holly English of the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, Dr Anca Minescu, Dr Khalifa Elmusharaf, Deborah Tudge and Noreen O’Malley Picture: Zoe Conway/ilovelimerick

A CONFERENCE “run in the spirit of sharing and learning from each other” saw delegates from 110 universities and 30 organisations from around the world gather at the University of Limerick to discuss community empowerment for health.

The Network Towards Unity for Health conference at UL, led by the university’s Dr Khalifa Elmusharaf and Dr Anca Minescu, was “a resounding success”, according to its organisers.

The main outcome of the conference was a Limerick declaration on community empowerment, according to Dr Elmusharaf.

“It declares that community empowerment goes beyond the traditional methods of listening, information sharing and consultation,” Dr Elmush-  araf said. 

“It involves a change in power relations and enabling people to have more control, and responsibility, for their own health.

“This declaration is a call of action on educational institutes and organizations worldwide to lead the change process for community empowerment and social accountability,” he added. 

Delegates from a range of backgrounds gathered to discuss how to create opportunities for others within their communities, to become more informed by giving them the confidence, skills, resources, and power to shape and influence their own health.

The conference was run in the “spirit of sharing and learning from each other, each other’s profession”, according to Dr Anca Minescu, the assistant dean international at the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences.

“This engagement resonates deeply with the ethos of the University of Limerick, where we prioritize being part of the city and region as well as working together with communities,” she explained.

The conference saw delegates share their experiences through key- note speeches, interactive thematic sessions, mini- workshops and site visits and discussed how educational institutions could lead change.

UL Academic conference manager Deborah Tudge said her team was “delighted” to have worked with the Graduate Entry Medical School and Network Towards Unity for Health to host, organise and deliver “a rich and diverse cultural experience”