Around the Workers’ Health World in 8 Webinars - IOMSC/SOM Global Webinar Series


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08 Oct 2021

Faculty Chair, Dr Rikard Moen, writes about his profession of Occupational Medicine and highlights an exciting webinar series presented jointly by IOMSC and SOM. Dr Moen has led the development of this exciting global series in his role as International Chair of the SOM.

 

One of the incredible things about our unique specialty of occupational medicine is the international reach and expanded network of our occupational health colleagues around the world. I have had the great pleasure of working in some of the most underdeveloped, complex or hostile countries around the world, many of them low and middle income countries (LMICs) and in conflict or war zones, which has helped me see what similar challenges and opportunities we as occupational health specialists experience in some of the most interesting and difficult territories of the world. Our vision and objectives no matter how developed or resource limited locations we are working in, are very much aligned and it is so important to connect with, share knowledge, and network with our occupational health kindred spirits around the globe. It is particularly important to share our knowledge and learnings from our resource rich practice to our colleagues globally where occupational health is a fledgling specialty and also sharing our passion for protecting workers’ health, particularly within the migrant workforce, is a wonderful and satisfying opportunity we should very much engage with. Providing guidance, toolkits, mentoring and academic materials to help LMIC’s develop the specialty by leveraging local governmental and private organisations which will ultimately protect workers and the migrant workforce within those countries. This is not only the right, moral and ethical thing to do from our advantageous context but can also be very much included within one’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.

 

As part of this sharing of experiences, challenges and learnings from each other all around the world I came up with the eccentric idea of running a series of global webinars in all regions of the world, including the Arctic and Antarctica, which is titled, “Around the OH World in Eight Global Webinars”. With the excellent support of the International Occupational Medicine Society Collaborative (IOMSC), Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) and the Chief Medical Officer Global Network, a programme of eight geographically unique and distinct webinars was developed. These webinars were very much focused on the challenges and difficulties of protecting workers’ welfare, and the migrant workforce, where occupational health does not have the leverage to influence government or health authorities, to be able to facilitate the level of service delivery that we all strive to provide in our own practice. The remit of these webinars was very much to avoid the topic of Covid and to focus on business as usual in the post Covid world which will hopefully soon be upon us. Each webinar had three or four speakers providing a 15 to 20 minute presentation, followed by a group panel Q&A driven by the questions and topics raised by the attendees. In many ways, the panel session was the most illuminating part of the webinars as the level of shared discussion was fascinating to an extent which I could not have anticipated. The first webinar, focusing on Southern Africa, had over 150 delegates and interestingly 90% of the attendees were from the local region itself. This pattern of attendance, where the majority of attendees were from the region themselves, continued for each of the subsequent webinars; this resulted in very nuanced and locally specific targeted conversations which was extremely enlightening for all of us attending from other parts of the world. Additionally, we were very fortunate to have Dr Ivan Ivanov of the World Health Organisation (WHO) able to attend the webinars to provide a contribution from the WHO for each particular region of the world. 

The subsequent webinars in the series were; East Asia where we had speakers from Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan ; the Middle East with focus on Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Lebanon ; South & Central Asia with speakers from India, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. There has continued to be an extremely high attendance at each of these webinars which is enormously encouraging for the ongoing collaboration around the world working with the IOMSC and SOM. The next webinar in the series, from South and Central America, will be on Tuesday 16th November. Then North America including Canada and Alaska. The final webinar in the series challengingly is going to be the Arctic, Antarctica and Greenland which unsurprisingly as yet I have not identified speakers for – so, please attend to find out who has been discovered from these regions.

 

We should continually strive to do anything we can for equitable, safe, effective and best practice workplace health in any jurisdiction where technology allows us to access territories which are under resourced, challenging, hostile, remote, or unstable due to conflict or war. This is the amazing opportunity we have as occupational health specialists, and I would urge you to become involved in whatever way you can or via the IOMSC or the SOM International Group.

 

 

Dr. Rikard Moen   MB ChB, FFOM, MSc, Tech IOSH, FFOMI, FRCPI, FACOEM 

Chief Medical Officer, Optima Health

Chair, Faculty of Remote, Rural & Humanitarian Healthcare, Royal College Surgeons Edinburgh

 

You can find out more about this series and watch previous webinars from this series by clicking here.


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