Students visit WHO & UNAIDS in Geneva

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The last week of January 2017, 30 third year Biomedical Science students travelled to Geneva for the grande finale of the Research Minor ‘Global Health & Infectious Diseases’. This study tour was organised and supervised by Leon Bijlmakers and Maarten Jansen (Dept for Health Evidence) and Alma Tostmann (Dept of Primary and Community Care). 

The students got a firsthand experience of what it is like to be in the Global Health capital of the world. The 2-day trip aims to familiarize students with the mandates of important organizations located in Geneva (the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS) and how they operate – to get a better understanding of the broader context of global health policy and the implementation of international health guidelines.

The first day was spent at WHO, where students presented their own projects in the presence of leading experts in the field of HIV/aids. The students presented very well and engaged in real debates with the experts, making it worthwhile for both sides. During the day students enjoyed lectures on adolescent health and HIV, the impact of non-communicable diseases on low-resource settings, and pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV.

According to the students this tour has broadened their horizons. They appreciated “how the experts approached us like ‘real people’ and took us and our presentations so seriously”.

On the second day students visited UNAIDS, where the Deputy Chief of Staff from the executive office met with the students to discuss on the mandate, the strategy and goals of UNAIDS. Thereafter, students finished the program in Geneva with a visit to the International Red Cross museum before heading back to the Netherlands in the afternoon.

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