Conference equity in global health: a systematic review of factors impacting LMIC representation at global health conferences
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  • Published on:
    Letter to the editor: “Conference equity in global health: are online conferences a solution?"
    • Lotta Velin, Medical Student Program in Global Surgery and Social Change
    • Other Contributors:
      • Ulrick Kanmounye, Researcher
      • Michelle Nyah Joseph, Academic Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon

    Lotta Velin1,2, Ulrick Sidney Kanmounye1,3, Michelle Nyah Joseph1,4

    1. Program in Global Surgery and Social Change, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    2. WHO Collaborating Center for Surgery and Public Health, Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
    3. Department of Neurosurgery, University of Kinshasa Faculty of Medicine, Kinshasa, Congo (the Democratic Republic of the)
    4. Warwick Clinical Trials Unit, Warwick Medical School, Coventry, West Midlands, UK

    Correspondence to: Dr Michelle Nyah Joseph;

    We want to congratulate Phan et al. on their thoughtful analysis of our article “Conference equity in global health: a systematic review of factors impacting LMIC representation at global health conferences” (1). Phan et al. are addressing inequities in global health conferences. This is evidenced by their inspiring work with transitioning the Global Women’s Research Conference (GLOW) from a physical to an online event. It is clear from Phan et al. recount that the transition helped increase access and equity to a major global health conference. We agree with the authors that such a strategy can help address many of the barriers we identified in our systematic review.

    Prior to 2019, some global health events offered an online component; however, none of the major global health conferences hel...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Conference equity in global health: are online conferences a solution?
    • Thuan Phan, Postgraduate student Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, University of Liverpool, UK
    • Other Contributors:
      • Kate Lightly, Clinical Research Fellow
      • Andrew Weeks, Professor of International Maternal Health

    We congratulate the authors on their systematic review of conference equity in global health (1) and agree that this is a key step towards decolonising global health research. Their review identifies barriers and facilitators impacting attendance from low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). The authors have identified many solutions to improve the equity of conferences but did not mention online conferences. These have rapidly become the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic and could offer a feasible solution. (2)

    The global pandemic forced the Global Women’s Research Society (GLOW) society conference to go online for the first time and it had dramatic impacts on the reach of the conference. We have run the annual UK-based GLOW conferences in global reproductive, maternal and new-born health since 2012, with a typical attendance of 70-140. In 2020, however, the pandemic forced us to pivot to an online conference. We fundraised £25,700 to provide the online platform and recordings, allowing free attendance for anyone from around the world. As a result, over 1300 people from 70 countries registered, with up to 1076 live views at one time. This works out at just £20 per registrant. During 2 days of the conference, there were a total of 3347 views, with 546 of those from LMICs. Additionally, there have been nearly 500 views of the videos on the YouTube channel since the September conference. We estimate costs of over £1,000,000 if all registrants and presenters had attend...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.