Durban — A University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) fourth-year medical student was one of only three medical students globally for the Changemaker Scholarship to attend the Youth Pre-World Health Assembly (Pre-WHA) and World Health Assembly (WHA) held at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Mohamed Hoosen Suleman’s selection is not only a proud moment for South Africa but for the youth voice worldwide. He formed part of the official youth delegation to the WHO, the UKZN said.
The WHA is the WHO’s highest decision-making body which is attended by world leaders and delegations of its 194-member states, where a detailed agenda on global health is discussed with a plan of action on priority health areas that countries should take action.
UKZN said that Suleman, who is widely described as a passionate and dedicated youth healthcare leader, holds multiple awards and accolades in the medical field. The decorated medical student was awarded UKZN’s Best Student Researcher and Best Student Innovator titles last year.
Suleman was selected by the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association in collaboration with the WHO which enabled him to spend two weeks in Geneva, and attend high-level meetings with heads of state of various countries.
He personally met and interacted with the WHO director-general Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus.
Suleman also met and engaged with health ministers from different countries and gained insight into the health challenges in different parts of the world.
“The experience was overwhelming, especially given that I would’ve been the youngest person in the room. It was a dream come true to be invited to the WHO and to attend the World Health Assembly,” Suleman said.
“The involvement of young people in important high-level meetings is a clear illustration of youth empowerment and WHO’s commitment to nurturing young talent to truly step up and be active in health matters.”
UKZN said Suleman was also well-known for his advocacy efforts and leadership skills, and has been actively involved in combating Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy.
Earlier this year, Suleman was appointed as Student Editor for the International Journal of Medical Students.