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Conference round up: World Congress on Public Health

By Julia Robinson, Executive Editor, PLOS Global Public Health

In early May 2023, I had the great pleasure of attending the World Congress on Public Health, a conference held in Rome, Italy that brought together 3000 global health researchers, activists, practitioners and students to discuss the most pressing issues in the field of global health today. The theme of the conference, A World in Turmoil: Opportunities to Focus on the Public’s Health, was one in which centered solution making throughout the scientific and plenary sessions.

Over several days, topics such as climate change, artificial intelligence, and the commercial determinants of health (among many others!) were presented and discussed. PLOS Global Public Health’s own Catherine Kytobungi presented a plenary session on Artificial Intelligence and Digital Health: Opportunities and Threats to Public Health, speaking on the promise and potential of AI in Africa. Climate change was front of mind, with issues of migration, equity, and the need for urgent action woven through several of the sessions. Speakers grappled with how we can use the tools of public health to create a post-pandemic world that ensures access to health to all.

At the end of the Congress, a final declaration was released, which exhorts us all to use the tools of global public health and take urgent action: 

“…the syndemic nature of contemporary health crises demands that we, as public health professionals, work together across sectors, seeking opportunities to realise co-benefits where everyone wins and better address current challenges. This is the only way to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals essential for survival.”

17th World Congress on Public Health Final Declaration

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