Enthusiastic reception for first WHO Europe Global Health Histories seminar

Posted on 15 January 2013

Report on the WHO Regional Office for Europe Global Health Histories seminar 1

The first Global Health Histories Seminar to be held at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen took place on 11th January 2013. This inaugural seminar focussed on a very significant and topical issue – antimicrobial resistance. The effectiveness of antibiotics is becoming increasingly undermined because they are often used incorrectly. This has seen a rise in modern drug-resistant superbugs, such as MRSA, which are becoming a serious problem in healthcare settings in even the most developed economies. Dealing with such significant and pressing subject matter, this seminar followed the story of antibiotic resistance since the Second World War and the World Health Organization's (WHO) renewed efforts in the field of antimicrobial resistance in the present day.

Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, introduced this high-profile event. The seminar benefitted from the expert knowledge of two specialist speakers, Professor Christoph Gradmann of the University of Oslo and Dr Danilo Lo Fo Wong, Senior Adviser on Antimicrobial Resistance at the WHO Regional Office for Europe. The seminar, which lasted roughly one-and-a-half hours, attracted a capacity audience at the venue in Copenhagen and large numbers over the internet who tuned in via an online webinar function. There was an enthusiastic response from both audiences who were eager to discuss the topic during the event and also at length afterwards. Both speakers and organisers were delighted with this reaction and the lively atmosphere which characterised the afternoon. A recording of the seminar will be made freely available for training and educational purposes so that those who were unable to attend will be able to benefit from the important and engaging discussions.

Antimicrobial resistance speakers Christoph Gradmann and Danilo Lo Fo Wong

The event represents a major expansion of the WHO’s Global Health Histories initiative which, since 2005, has seen over sixty presentations delivered by academics and WHO officials from around the world at the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva. The success of January’s seminar marked a superb start to the important new collaboration between the organisers, which will see seminars in Copenhagen held on a regular basis in the coming years.

The event was co-organised by the Centre for Global Health Histories at the University of York, UK and the WHO Regional Office for Europe, with generous support received from the Wellcome Trust, a major, Britain-based global charitable foundation.

For further information on this and other events in the Global Health Histories seminar series please see the World Health Organization’s dedicated webpages and please revisit the Centre for Global Health Histories’ own website for updates, news and event details.