Presented the VI Activist and Public Health Conference

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The State Council of Medical Students has inaugurated the VI Activist and Public Health Conference at the headquarters of the General Council of Official Colleges of Physicians of Spain.

Various professionals from the sector have participated in the presentation event, who have advanced the topics that they will delve into in this new edition – such as gambling, migrants, gay population, comprehensive health… -, so after the break after the pandemic It comes with more force than ever.

Jose Maria Rodriguezgeneral secretary of the CGCOM, has recalled that “public health is the political and social action of all states and governments to promote health in all its citizens before the disease arrives”. Likewise, the expert stressed that social protection is an exercise in solidarity that must be inculcated. “You have to be supportive and generous.”

The importance of the channel and the message

Ana Presa, coordinator of the CEEM Public Health Commission, explained that public health is a challenge, an opportunity and an illusion. For her, “informing is the best way to empower people. A people that does not know will never fight for what is theirs, so acts like this make health more ours”. In this sense, “public health is about that. A balance between the collective and the personal. To defend what belongs to everyone without forgetting individuality”.

He would like to think that it will be a conference “that will go down in history for being the first time that activism -channel- and public health -message-” come together. In conclusion “if it is not like an empty cry or words without a voice. You have to know what to say, educate yourself on how, why and what people live, get sick and die from before raising your voice. Once with that information, the spirit of change and vindication comes by itself. We are here today to know how to channel it”.

A claim in itself

Antonio Pujola resident of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, has underlined the relevance of these conferences, which were born in 2016, after detecting a group of students that university medical training focused mainly on biological aspects, ignoring the biopsychosocial extension that differentiates the profession from another science.

Now after “overcoming the peak phase of the pandemic” they are resuming “with more reasons, if possible, than those that motivated the previous days.” Thus, “they are not just another scientific event, but a claim in itself: We organize these conferences because we are looking for that training that the University we pay for, which trains us as professionals, is not offering us. It is likely that these days we learn content that we should have acquired in the race. This knowledge allows our patients not to leave the health system because they feel excluded. That we, as healthcare professionals, suspect a specific infectious disease, based on the social and geographical background of our patients, and that we be able to treat it or even put ourselves in front of a microphone, to denounce that the precariousness of our health centers is preventing our patients receive the best benefits”.

For an ethical education

On the other hand, these conferences are also a “complaint against the contamination of medical scientific events by the fumes of the pharmaceutical industry. We have totally normalized that to attend a congress you have to pay 500 euros or that it is financed by a Laboratory. It’s not logical or fair.”

And he continued, “we cannot allow our training as professionals and scientific progress to be dictated by the interests of the industry. For this reason, we hope that these conferences will find the spark that ignites this social vocation, of a rigorous exercise, full of training and social activity and vindictive commitment, always for the future of medicine and a fairer and more equitable society”.

Work for health, and not for illness

Fernando Simon, director of the CCAES, has recalled that in medicine there is an added problem to other careers, and that is that you cannot stop doing it correctly, if in addition to being smart, you have no commitment”. Now, after the pandemic, “it is known what being a doctor can really mean,” he has stressed.

“You have to work for health. Not because of the disease.” Until recently, he has described, the job of doctors was to cure disease. And the concept should be to get the population healthy. Always. For him it is not important to live until the age of 90, but until the day one dies in the best possible health. That’s what you have to get. We must understand that the health system is not hospitals and that all specialties are necessary, very interesting and have a great impact.

He has also stressed that we must realize that “40% of the Primary Care places were left empty. It doesn’t have good press. Little is said in the race”, he assured. “But when a person truly understands health, he realizes that Primary Care is probably the place where we need the best doctors. And to the most committed. “It is easier to choose a specialty that they are constantly talking about,” he claimed, but “medicine is everything, and each of the areas is important.”

There are many specialties that remain uncovered and this creates a major problem for the Spanish health system. “If someone wastes time lobbying for a specific specialty, it is because they have the time and money to do so. We need private and pharmaceutical companies, but each one in its place. Not where they shouldn’t”, she opined.

In this sense, he praised the broad agenda that will be addressed in this edition: “We used to study diseases” and Medicine has to go further, including other concepts. Health professionals have to worry about health, which can be both physical and mental. “You have to understand that health has to include all these concepts, which implies that health is not a medical problem, but of the whole society”, has emphasized.

Medicine is going beyond

Luciana Nechifor, president of the CEEM, for her part, has concluded “we want you to feel that Medicine is not just books, classes and practices, but a responsibility to society that we can meet by leading initiatives with the aim of putting an end to structural efficiencies that feed justice and inequality”. She also recalled that this year Jaén and Almería are starting the Medicine degree, with which there are already 46 Medicine faculties.

Thus, during the conference different activities will be carried out to make society aware of the current situation such as the lack of teachers, and different topics will be addressed such as the increase in drug prices, how climate change affects our health, as well as addictions, alcohol consumption as a youth culture, LGBT health, among many other topics.

In short, the sessions represent a further step in the fight for a fairer and more equitable medicine.