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WISH 2022, will bring back the popular Agora discussion sessions during the upcoming summit on October 4-6. Based on the traditional Greek assembly places where community members would meet to exchange news, the Agora sessions are 30-minute, informal moderated discussions that aim to be as interactive as possible and drive dynamic conversations between select expert speakers and the audience.

This year, the audience will be mostly made up of online participants of the summit, who will be able to stream all the sessions live via the WISH Qatar app. Each Agora will examine a particularly challenging and timely issue facing the healthcare industry today.

Questions that will be discussed include Are we doing enough to safeguard the mental health of healthcare students? (4th October, 10:45-11:15am AST), which will interrogate the culture of expecting resilience from medical students but how there is little appetite at looking to create systematic resilience to support them. This session will feature Professor Debbie White, Dean and CEO, University of Calgary – Qatar, and will ask whether we can expect that culture to change and what more can be done to safeguard their mental health.

Is COVID-19 fatigue making us complacent and does a desire to move on risk us sleepwalking into the next pandemic? (4th October, 12:45-1:15pm AST) will feature discussion with Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist and technical lead for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 response. It will examine how an end of the pandemic seems to be in sight, but how complacency puts us at serious risk of losing any hard-fought gains. As governments dismantle the systems put in place to protect us from infection, they risk going through the same painful process with another pandemic – so how do we tackle this as a global community?

The session on Workplace stress in the digital age: are we coping? (5th October, 10:45-11:15am AST) will look at how, in an increasingly digital age, it’s becoming harder to separate our working lives from our home lives. Technology keeps us permanently connected and millennials and those in Generation Z have seen an increase in the lack of job security and financial worries, with a notable lack of time for physical fitness leading to impaired physical health. Discussions with Dr. Adhari Al Zaabi, Assistant Professor, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman will ask how do we achieve a better work-life balance and what role can the health sector play in this?

The final Agora of the week will focus on Forgotten diseases and causes: how do we repair the damage caused by COVID-19’s drain on global resources? (5th October, 12:45pm-1:15pm AST) and feature Dr. Stacey Knobler, Vice President of Vaccine Innovation and Global Immunization at the Sabin Vaccine Institute. Discussion will cover how there used to be a clear group of neglected diseases, but with so much attention, funds and resources focused on fighting COVID-19, whether all diseases become neglected? And what of health systems that are now starved of funds; how do we balance dealing with a global health emergency with maintaining existing efforts to keep our populations healthy, with strong and equitable access to healthcare?

To join the Agoras and submit questions for discussion, please download the WISH Qatar app.

The full agenda for WISH 2022 can be found here.

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