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How Jembi Champions Health Equity Amidst Global Crises at PMAC24

Updated: Feb 14


A photo of Dr Chris Seebregts during the side meeting presentation at PMAC24: “Recognizing and Addressing Legacy Systems of Power and Privilege”
Dr Chris Seebregts during the side meeting presentation at PMAC24: “Recognizing and Addressing Legacy Systems of Power and Privilege”

I attended the Prince Mahidol Award Conference 2024 (PMAC24) on “Geopolitics, Human Security and Health Equity in an Era of Polycrises” at the Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld in Bangkok, Thailand, from 22 – 27 January 2024. Presenting in one of the preceding side meetings hosted by USAID and the Country Health Information Systems and Data Use (CHISU) project.


Jembi is one of the core partners on the USAID-funded CHISU project led by JSI. The other core partners are Research Triangle Initiative (RTI), Vital Strategies, Pendulum and GemNET.


As part of CHISU, Jembi is working on digital health projects in Indonesia, Madagascar and Africa CDC.


Inspired by the Prince Mahidol of Songkla

PMAC is an annual event organised in honour of Prince Mahidol of Songkla who trained as a medical doctor and public health specialist and dedicated his working life to improving the health of the nation.


Memorial to Prince Mahidol of Sonklar at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference 2024
Memorial to Prince Mahidol of Sonklar at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference 2024

The conference focuses on high-priority global health issues and makes awards to eminent scientists contributing to global public health. The conference takes place over two days and is pre-ceded by two days of side-meetings and one day of site visits.


Jembi participated in the PMAC24 side meeting entitled “Recognising and Addressing Legacy Systems of Power and Privilege”.


Reimagining Technical Assistance for Health Equity

In her opening remarks, Dr Stephanie Watson-Grant, Deputy Project Director for CHISU and prime partner, JSI introduced the side meeting and gave a presentation describing JSI’s “Reimagining Technical Assistance (RTA)” program and how it relates to JSI’s health logistics work.


Dr Watson-Grant explained that technical assistance is part of a complex adaptive system made up of interconnected elements and actors. As part of the RTA, JSI has developed a critical shifts framework that identifies the changes needed to move to a more country-driven, coordinated, and equitable system that delivers higher returns on health investments and better health outcomes for all.

 

Dr Watson-Grant’s RTA presentation was followed by a gallery walk of posters of the RTA critical shifts. Attendees reviewed the posters and provided comments on sticky notes.

 

A group shot in front of posters of the Side Meeting Presentation Team at PMAC24 (left to right): Shameka Harmon (USAID), Ratih Syabrina (CDI), Maria Aruan (CHISU Indonesia), Dr Stephanie Watson-Grant (CHISU-JSI), Dr Chris Seebregts (CHISU-Jembi)
The Side Meeting Presentation Team at PMAC24 (left to right): Shameka Harmon (USAID), Ratih Syabrina (CDI), Maria Aruan (CHISU Indonesia), Dr Stephanie Watson-Grant (CHISU-JSI), Dr Chris Seebregts (CHISU-Jembi)

Challenges and Opportunities for Local Organiations

I introduced the panel session with my presentation on Challenges and Opportunities for Local Organisations in which I described Jembi’s experiences over the past fifteen years as a prime and sub-awardee of CDC and USAID, respectively, in Africa and Asia.


The presentation focussed on Jembi’s experiences and future opportunities, including ongoing projects with CHISU in Indonesia and the Open Health Information Mediator (OpenHIM) technology providing opportunities for Jembi to grow regionally in Asia.


I described Jembi’s program in Mozambique and the formation of a local NGO led by local Mozambican staff supported by CDC and a future opportunity to leverage the recognition of regional partners by CDC.

 

The final session was an audience reflection on the gallery walk and presentations. The audience discussion included examples of power imbalances and the difficulties experienced by marginalised groups in accessing digital health tools in healthcare settings.

 

The theme for PMAC 2025 will be digital health which will make it an important forum for Jembi to attend and present ideas.

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