KZN med student represents SA at WHO

Mohamed Hoosen Suleman

Mohamed Hoosen Suleman

Published May 15, 2023


Durban - A future leader in the medical field, Mohamed Hoosen Suleman, will represent South Africa as a youth delegate at a meeting hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Suleman, 25, a fifth-year medical student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine in Durban, will leave for Switzerland tomorrow to attend the Youth Pre-World Health Assembly (PreWHA) and World Health Assembly (WHA) hosted at the WHO headquarters from May 15 – 30.

The World Health Assembly is the WHO’s highest decision-making body meeting that is attended by world leaders and delegations from its 194 member states.

Suleman said he was honoured to be chosen for the event and that he was committed to high levels of engagement with experts in the field of medicine.

“I am deeply honoured to be shortlisted to attend the meeting and make some contribution to discussions on healthcare policy and diplomacy. An interesting area for me would be discussions relating to the Pandemic Accord proposed by WHO on preparedness, response, and recovery to disease outbreaks and whether or not this international instrument will be accepted by many countries,” he said.

Suleman said he was looking forward to the robust discussions with like-minded individuals from different parts of the world.

At the meeting, a detailed agenda on global health would be discussed with a plan of action on priority health areas that countries should focus on

Suleman will be engaging in scientific discussions, in line with the World Health Assembly agenda, and how it translates to policy making and health-care decision-making. Resolutions adopted at the meeting will be shared as policy documents with all WHO member states as guidance on priority health issues for the next year.

Suleman was also selected last year as one of only three medical students globally for the Changemaker Scholarship to attend the Youth Pre-World Health Assembly and World Health Assembly in Geneva.

The youth delegation to the WHO, which includes Suleman and other members of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association, will be submitting nine official statements on topics such as health systems resilience and strengthening; health emergencies and pandemic preparedness; prevention and control of non-communicable diseases; sexual and reproductive health, women and adolescent health; human rights, peace, and health and infectious diseases.

A recipient of a number of awards and accolades in the medical field, Suleman was named by UKZN for the last two consecutive years as the best student researcher and best student innovator.

He recently returned from Denmark, where he was an invited delegate to the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease (ESCMID) Conference.

Professor Andrew Ross, associate professor at UKZN's School of Clinical Medicine, said the Department of Medicine at UKZN was thrilled to learn that Suleman had been selected to attend WHO's highest decision-making body meeting.

“We wish him well and we fully support his efforts to ensure that health care can be improved, particularly on the African continent. Mr Suleman is commended for his efforts in pursuing academic excellence and I encourage all students to follow in his footsteps,” said Ross.

Mohamed Hoosen Suleman