The University of Mauritius hosted the 2019 ACU Summer School from 14-22 July, focusing on the theme 'Public health: from a small island state to the global community'.
The event brought together 43 students from 15 countries around the Commonwealth and challenged them to apply their knowledge to real-world public health issues.
The programme, led by University of Mauritius subject specialists, focused on four major components of public health:
- Education, detection and prevention in public health
- Emerging trends in health/medicine
- Innovation in health: e-health and big data
- Health economics, policy and management
During an action-packed week, students got to experience public health in action with site visits taking them to a range of locations, including Victoria Hospital Central Health Laboratory, the blood donation centre and La Marie Filter Bed, as well as to local industry.
A core part of the programme saw students working together on a challenging group project relating to public health, such as free healthcare, public policy, traditional medicine and promoting healthy lifestyles – each group presented their work to a jury made up of academics, industry leaders and policymakers, with one group being crowned this year's winners.
The first-place project considered the topic "Free health through the welfare state: is it sustainable?" The presentation used an innovative short drama to compare and contrast healthcare provision in Fiji and Mauritius. The group consisted of Olufunke Adelegan from Afe Babalola University in Nigeria, Zoha Anjum from McMaster University in Canada, Steve Fonkou from University of Buea in Cameroon and Conscilliah Menda from Divine Word University in Papua New Guinea.
Students were also given opportunities to learn from world-renowned academics, forge new global networks, share experiences of public health challenges in their home countries, and immerse themselves in Mauritian culture.
Liberty Oberlander, Deputy Head of Membership at the ACU, commented: 'Universities – and the research they produce – are critical to solving global challenges and meeting the targets outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
'The ACU is committed to supporting the next generation and providing opportunities for international collaboration and our annual Summer School is just one way we do this. It's been a great honour to work in partnership with the University of Mauritius – an ACU member university – on this year's programme, which has seen students from across the Commonwealth come together to learn from the university's experts in public health and apply their knowledge to help meet these global challenges.'
The ACU Summer School launched in 2011 and is hosted by a different ACU member institution each year. Previous summer schools have been held in Rwanda, Canada and Hong Kong, covering themes such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), urban studies, and the environmental humanities.
The Summer School is open to postgraduate and final-year undergraduate students from Commonwealth universities. Each year, approximately 50% of participants are awarded competitive ACU-funded bursaries, which are targeted at students from member universities who have not previously had the opportunity to travel overseas.
The ACU Summer School 2020 will be hosted by the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, with the theme of 'The Migration Generation? Climate, youth and refugees.' Applications will open in November 2019, to register your interest please email firstname.lastname@example.org.