The 2019 Dialogue Days were held on September 9th and 10th at the University of Zurich and were jointly organized by the Researchers for Global Health (R4GH) founding institutions IDI and the Division of Infectious Diseases at University of Zurich. Started in 2014, the event originated as a way to build future research collaborations between the two universities, as well as to encourage dialogue and interactions between participants. Since its inauguration, there have been subsequent events in 2015 and 2017; each one building on the work from previous iterations.
185 people attended this year’s Dialogue Days; a 30% increase to the previous iteration in 2017
The theme of this year`s Dialogue Days was, “Global Health Challenges: What`s Next?” We presented these challenges through the lens of four main areas:
- Challenges in communicable diseases (specifically antimicrobial resistance) in animals
- Challenges in communicable diseases (specifically antimicrobial resistance) in humans
- Non-communicable diseases
- Climate change
We had engaging keynote speakers and workshop leaders for each area above, as well as two brand new sessions which integrated all four. Both of the new sessions, “Out of the Box” and the “Migration Boma”, were very well received by event attendees.
We were very pleased to have important representatives from both universities and Swiss Parliament join us for Dialogue Days. Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor Makerere University, Prof. Beatrice Beck Schimmer, the Vice President of Medicine at the University of Zurich, Prof. Michael Hengartner, then President of the University of Zurich and Marina Carobbio, the President of the Swiss National Council, participated in the official closing of the event.
The overall quality of the scientific discussion during Dialogue Days 2019 was rated as a 4.43 on a five-point Likert scale.
Dialogue Days made it once again evident that global health challenges call for global solutions. Future global health challenges can only be properly addressed in an international framework, one in which everyone; NGOs, politicians, infectious diseases specialists, etc., operates with a global vision and awareness. Dialogue Days provided a forum for the establishment of new collaborations as well as a rejuvenation of existing ones. We are confident that the fruits of these new collaborations will be used to confront future global health challenges and will be ready to present their work at the next Dialogue Days in Kampala in 2021.