IFGH 2010: Welcome Presentation

November 30, 2010

On behalf of the Combat Diseases of Poverty Consortium and NUI Maynooth, we are pleased to welcome you to the Third Biennial Conference of the Irish Forum for Global Health.The theme of the conference is ‘Partnerships to Address Health and Diseases of Poverty Challenges’. This theme is timely in several ways. First, the success of the term ‘Global Health’ and its cognates has encouraged the development of interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaborations, ironically, in line with an older Social Health ideal that was eclipsed in many ways in the 1970s.Second, the issue of partnership highlights how central has been the alliance between academia, state services, NGOs, and the private sector for successfully addressing global health challenges.We are especially pleased, therefore, to have such a healthy contribution from all these sectors at this conference.  We hope that the opportunities, for mutual learning, sharing of insights, and networking are taken advantage of in the coming days.

Finally, the increasingly gloomy financial picture in many economies in the north has made the important term ‘partnership’ the object of more serious reflection.The easy certainties of the postwar period – about where certain diseases were, who controlled the resources, and those individuals and sectors who had the expertise to be tapped and ‘given’ to those who did not – have broken down.Diseases of Poverty are often shared in complex ways between North and South, while financial and knowledge resources also circulate in ways that make a mockery of such crude divisions. ‘Partnership’, then, while still aspirational in some settings, is increasingly the world in which we find ourselves as scholars, clinicians, and activists. We hope that this conference represents a small contribution towards putting some flesh on the bones of these ideas, and that we come away from our interaction with a commitment to making these relationships work for those people who are bearing the disproportionate burden of poverty and ill health.





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