UCL News


Students unite to tackle global health issues

22 October 2008

UCL (University College London) will this week play host to hundreds of students from across Europe, coming together to learn about why they must take urgent action to fight health inequalities around the world - and how to do it.

Event: The 2008 Medsin National Conference

Date: 25th-26th October 2008

Location: UCL (University College London), Gower St, WC1E 6BT

The Medsin National Conference 2008 will revolve around the theme of 'Power and Politics in Global Health', with the aim of inspiring, empowering and arming students with the knowledge and skills necessary to fight for global health equality and become future leaders in this field

Medsin is a national student network, with branches at universities across the UK. Its activities aim to promote health as well as to act upon and educate students about health inequalities in local and global communities. This is the first time its national conference has been hosted by Medsin UCL. The conference programme includes four plenaries, 16 speakers and 80 workshops. The speakers include:

Clare Short MP (Former Minister for International Development)

Dr Richard Horton (Editor, the Lancet)

Professor Jonathon Wolff (Professor of Political Philosophy, UCL)

Professor Nancy Scheper-Hughes (University of California, Berkeley)

Elizabeth Pisani (Author, "the Wisdom of Whores")

Martin Wolf (Associate Editor, the Financial Times)

Professor Maureen Mackintosh (Open University)

Professor Richard Wilkinson (University of Nottingham)

Natalie Gulliver and Majdi Osman, the organisers of this year's conference, said: "Global health inequality is one of the most demanding issues of our age. HIV/AIDS ravages southern Africa, whilst in Europe it is a managed chronic disease. Malaria has been eradicated from most of southern Europe, yet it is still one of the biggest killers of children under-5 in many tropical areas. In 2008, food production reached an all time high, yet famines and food shortages raged across the world.

"There's a strong, active movement of students who want to tackle these problems and understand their underlying causes. This conference aims to go to the heart of global health issues: Why are some countries poor and healthy and others rich and sick? Why do pharmaceutical companies bend over backwards to meet the lifestyles of the rich but fail the needs of the poor? Why do some countries provide health for all, and others seem to leave their poor behind?

"We are proud of Medsin's work on tackling these issues at home and aboard, and hope that this year's conference will educate and inspire the next generation of leaders in global health."


The event will include a photocall on the steps of UCL's striking neoclassical portico at 1.30pm, 26 October where hundreds of students will group together to highlight the issue of health worker migration. They will visually illustrate the disproportionate levels of health care workers in the developed world, as opposed to the developing world, due to a wide range of factors which mitigate against investment into publicly-run and well-resourced health systems.


Notes for Editors

1. The Medsin National Conference 2008 will be held on October 25th-26th. More information can be found at http://www.medsin08.org/

2. Members of the media who wish to attend the photocall should contact: Jonny Currie, Medsin Campaigns Co-ordinator, t: +44 (0)750 0456 149, m: +44 (0)791 7564 343, e:campaigns@medsin.org

3. Journalists who wish to attend the conference, or interview those involved, should contact Ruth Metcalfe in the UCL Media Relations Office on tel: +44 (0)20 7679 9739, mobile: +44 (0)7990 675 947, out of hours: +44 (0)7917 271 364, e-mail: r.metcalfe@ucl.ac.uk