News overview

Emerging Voices in Liverpool

Young researchers get their voices heard at the Fifth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research

In 2018 the Emerging Voices for Global Health (EV4GH) venture has entered into its sixth edition. It is a multi-partner blended training programme which, this year was a shared effort between the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp, Institute of Public Health in Bangalore, Peking University Health Science Center, the University of Western Cape and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The training programme coaches “Emerging Voices” to actively participate in international conferences where global health issues are addressed and to raise their voice in scientific and policy debates.

Read the account of some of the Emerging Voices (EVs) of the event:

“It was a very informative and eye opening experience for me, it sparked a lot of self-reflection, at the same time it was also very motivating to see young researchers with similar values from across the world doing some amazing work. It gives me hope for the future.”
Salma Abdalla from Sudan, EV2018

After eight weeks of distance coaching, the EV face-to-face training programme finally kicked off on 28 September, 2018 with a bunch of icebreaking activities so that everybody from this cohort got to know each other a bit better. Unfortunately, and widely reported in the media, there were more visa rejections this year, no doubt due to this year’s location (UK), so not everybody from the selected 38 EVs could be with us in Liverpool.  The EV4GH venture is already for a while a multi-partner event, with IPH Bangalore firmly in the lead (as EV secretariat), together with an EV governance team (with representatives from various WHO regions). ITM remains, as one of the partners, firmly committed to the programme. As was already the case at the previous edition, the programme was largely put together by the secretariat, governance members and EV alumni from various cohorts.

“It was really amazing to learn from fellow participants coming from different countries who shared their diverse experiences and whom I got to engage with in interesting discussions. The EV program gave us the opportunity to make our voices heard at local as well as global level.”
Stephanie Co from the Philippines, EV2018

During the nine days of an intensive face-to-face training programme, the EVs engaged with their fellow participants, facilitators and leaders from the field of health policy and systems research on the dedicated themes for each day: community health systems (CHS), private sector engagement, global health in the SDG era, leaving no one behind, human resources for health and health systems in the context of fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS).

Each theme had a set of organized “thematic” sessions, including one big talk  (this year featuring Margaret Gyapong, Gerry Bloom, Gorik Ooms, Maryam Bigdeli and others), an EV-led session and a thematic working group session. This year, the EV training programme had made a big effort to reach out to other thematic working groups from Health Systems Global (the society and organizing body behind the Global Symposia) and incorporate them in the programme. A key aim of the EV network is to let EVs also engage in other thematic working groups for networking and research purposes, after the symposium.

“It was an exhilarating and exhausting 10 days, a perfect blend of interactive sessions, intensive coaching and socializing within the emerging voices community. I have learnt a lot and made some great friends.”
Tom Traill from the UK, EV2018

The EV led thematic sessions were a great mix of role plays, fish bowl and innovative panel discussions and debates which already sparked a lot a buzz around the key questions for HSR Symposium.

The second big chunk of the training focused on knowledge translation and coaching the EVs on effectively communicating their messages to various target groups through posters, policy briefs, blogs, oral presentations and social media. The training also included a local health systems day, where the EVs visited the governmental and non-governmental organisations that are working towards health for all and got a perspective on the UK health system.

“Being from Yemen, I was privileged to be an EV for the 2018 cohort, this experience has changed my life personally as well as professionally. I got exposure to technical skills in the field of global health. I believe that I can now use my voice to challenge the status quo in the global health policy arena.”
Sameh Al-Awlaqi from Yemen, EV2018

The face-to-face training program ended with a pre-conference on 6 October where the participants presented their work and received constructive feedback from global health leaders such as Kabir Sheikh (Health Systems Global) and Sally Theobald (from our co-host Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine). Prashanth NS also gave a warm tribute to former EV governance member Asmat Malik, who sadly passed away last year, but will always be remembered by the EV family.  The closing plenary cheered on the EVs’ work and highlighted the critical role this EV network can play in shaping the public health policy discourse.

With participation from around 28 countries, the current EV 2018 cohort brought along their diverse experiences to share, that triggered a lot of engaging discussions and conversations to follow throughout the training programme. We already have three blogposts published on the IHP blog from the new cohort, based on various discussions that happened during the EV training.  

After Liverpool, the next stop for EVs will be Dubai. Preparations are already ongoing for the 2020 venture.

The initiative is financed by the Belgian Development Cooperation.

Spread the word! Share this story on

Related stories