Global Health Debate 2013

June 20, 2013


Read a Storify of tweets from the debate.

Over 80 people were entertained by lively debate and rapid rebuttals at the Making Time National Global Health Debate, hosted by the IFGH, on Tuesday, April 9th.

Nobel Laureate Dr Harald zur Hausen, who received a Nobel Prize for cancer research, chaired the event which involved four third-level teams from around Ireland.

Dr Harald zur Hausen

The motion for the evening was “This House believes medical aid should prioritise equity of access above outcome”.

It was proposed by teams from Trinity College Dublin (Gavin Tucker and Liam O’Neill) and University of Limerick (MartinMroue and Sanskriti Sasikumar). Teams from NUI Galway (David O’Reilly and Laura Reynolds) and Queens University Belfast (Anna Anna Blennerhassett and David Carroll) opposed the motion.

Arguments centred around the weaknesses in current measurement proxies of the quality of medical aid; the MDGs; the difficulty in achieving equity of access in a ‘unequal society’; lack of coordination of the many actor in the humanitarian field; and the varying defintions of “equity of access”. Debaters were regularly interrupted by the opposing teams, meaning the audience were both entertained and informed.

According to Dr zur Hausen, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2008 for his discovery of human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer. equity of access in healthcare is, “of course, desirable”.

“It was an exciting experience to listen to both sides of the debate tonight,” he said while addressing the room as the judges retired to deliberate the result.  Dr zur Hausen went on to highlight the importance of preventative measures when tackling global health issues. “Prevention is something that has not been sufficiently prioritised in the education of physicians and practitioners,” said Dr zur Hausen. “We need to get the focus [on preventative treatment] into the universities.”

“Prevention plays a highly under-rated role in global health,” he said.

IFGH Student Outreach Group representative and debate organiser Kate Brady, winner of The Irish Times Debate Competition 2013, then facilitated an engaging question and answer session before welcoming back the five judges – Ronan Rooney, The Making Time Foundation; David Weakliam, IFGH; Kunal Patel, iHeed; Sally Rooney, TCD; Michael Barton, TCD.

And the Winner is…

IFGH Executive Committee Chair David Weakliam handed over the judges’ decision to announce the winner of The Making Time National Global Health Debate 2013 as … proposition team Trinity College Dublin – Gavin Tucker and Liam O’Neill!

The team received €800 in order to attend a conference in Europe during summer 2013 and an engraved clock.

The debate then moved onto the Wine Cellar, KC Peaches, Nasseau Street, where the evening continued with great food, wine and chat, accompanied by live music.

Want to know more?

Do you want more detail about what was said on the night? Check out our storify of tweets from the night to read the arguments from both sides.

The IFGH global health debate competition, organised by the IFGH Student Outreach Group, with generous sponsorship from the Making Time Foundation, aims to bring global health to a national third-level debating stage.

Further reports to follow and see photos from the event on our Flickr page.

  • If you would like to learn more about the debate; get involved in the Student Outreach Group; or find out more about the IFGH, please contact Leonie Corcoran, Communication Coordinator, IFGH at [email protected]



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