Blog entry one: the week ahead…
I am Susan from Seychelles. Over the next two weeks I will be in Geneva participating in a number of health governance meetings. On May 13-15 I will be participating in the Commonwealth Foundation’s Health Learning Exchange workshop in my capacity as Chairman of the National Mental Health Advisory Committee. The National Mental Health Advisory Committee was set up to advocate for and conduct the review of the current mental health law in Seychelles and to steer the proposed reforms. I’ll be sharing our experience in Seychelles where we decided to repeal and replace the outdated mental health Act, through the administrative and legislative channels.
I am really looking forward to this learning exchange because it is an opportunity for sharing and exchanging ideas and good practices. Learning from the successes (and failures) of others is always useful. I really want to hear how others engage with a range of stakeholders and involve them in big policy decisions. In my line of work, I am constantly involved in developing new policies and pieces of legislation. To stay true to the ‘Health in all, Health for all and Health by all’ policy, reaching out to non-health stakeholders and civil society organisations is an imperative.
On a day to day basis, I am usually bogged down by the sheer amount of what has to be done. I do not always have a chance to take a step back and look at the how it should be done and who I should be engaging with. The three-day workshop will provide me with an opportunity to do just that – to take stock of the wonderful things I have contributed to, to engage with people who have similar issues, but have worked out ways to better engage with those we perceive to be ‘outsiders’.
Following the learning exchange, I’ll be attending the Commonwealth Civil Society Policy Forum (May 18th), the Commonwealth Health Minister’s meeting (19 May) and ending with the World Health Assembly (20 -28 May). Although each meeting will be a very different ‘space’ I expect that there will be many common threads running through. My aim is to leave Geneva not only with new ideas, but most importantly with new friends who I can reach out to for guidance and advice in the future.
I look forward to sharing my experiences along the way.
Blog entry two: thoughts during the exchange:
A final, post-event blog entry is coming soon…