Emory Intramural Case Competition: Health for All in Kedougou, Senegal
Every year, Emory University, located in Atlanta, Georgia, hosts the Emory Morningside Global Health Case Competition (ECC), which allows students from across the globe to design innovative solutions for current global health issues. This year, the ECC will take place virtually from March 11 to 19, 2022.
This year, from January 31 to February 5, the McMaster Global Health Office held an internal case competition to select a multidisciplinary team to represent the university at the ECC.
The case competition asked students to consider innovative ways of tackling a number of health and infrastructure-related issues central to Kedougou, a small town in Southeastern Senegal. Specifically, these concerns included a lack of healthcare accessibility, sustainable practices in response to climate change, disease prevention, and promotion of economic prosperity. To align with global health core values and ethical considerations, students considered how their proposed solutions would address concerns of mistrust in healthcare and sustainability.
Provided with one-week, participating teams created 10-minute video pitches that outlined their solutions. After presenting their ideas, teams were invited to participate in a live Q&A session with judges. Teams were challenged to defend their solutions and address questions regarding feasibility, sustainability, ethical incorporation of ideas, cultural sensitivity, and more.
Winning first place was the Health for All team, which includes Mathanky Jeyakumar, Simran Jawanda, Sindi Mukaj, Nour Asswad, Elisa Do, and Unzila Waqar. The team brought together students from a variety of disciplines including Global Health, Kinesiology, Business, and Medical Radiation Sciences.
Reflecting on the experience, MSc Global Health student Mathanky Jeyakumar reflects,
“Heading into this case competition, I was excited to have the chance to apply my newfound skills obtained from the Global Health program to an activity outside of the classroom. As well, finding ways to make a 10-minute video engaging yet still informative was a key skill I honed through this case competition, which I plan to use for the upcoming Emory competition.”
Being a part of a multidisciplinary team, integrating knowledge from each team member, and working together for a week, the group proposed three innovative solutions to address the issues highlighted in the case. These solutions included the idea of a mobile medical system to provide local care, solar-powered water pumps to improve water and sanitation hygiene, and genetically-modified crop farming to address food insecurity and expand business opportunities.
One of the main issues that stood out to group members is the lack of healthcare access in the Kedougou region, which often disproportionately impacts women and children. To address this issue, the group proposed the idea of a mobile medical team. Specifically, using a medical vehicle, healthcare professionals could provide primary care to offset the burden on the local primary care centre, promote preventative care, and address gaps in women’s health. Given that the case study emphasized the importance of mitigating mistrust of outsiders and promoting sustainability, the group highlighted the involvement of individuals from Kedougou, or neighbouring regions, to provide culturally-informed care.
When discussing the learning experience Jawanda expressed that “the biggest learning takeaway that I obtained through participating in this case competition is the degree of critical thinking and time required to develop global health innovations that are sustainable, culturally competent, and addresses health inequities.” Simran Jawanda, MSc Global Health student.
Her teammate Mukaj highlights that “being able to apply lessons I’ve learned in Global Health has been a really fun challenge! Getting to work with people from different departments was my favourite part, it was really exciting to see everyone’s unique perspective to the problems we were given.” Sindi Mukaj, MSc Global Health student.
In preparation for the ECC, the team plans to continue integrating concepts from their diverse disciplines to offer fresh ideas and innovative solutions at the ECC. As well, they plan to continue educating themselves on current and critical global health issues to better inform their decisions when developing sustainable solutions and innovations.
“As a first-year student, I was extremely lucky to be a part of this wonderful team and partake in such an exceptional opportunity! It was definitely a first for me and I’m looking forward to participating in the Emory competition in March!” said first-year Medical Radiation Sciences student Unzila Waqar.
The team is looking forward to representing McMaster University on the global stage later this month.Student Blog