These topics do make me feel inadequate. I am a first world health practitioner with first world problems. I’m not doing enough personally to contribute internationally, as these two keynote speakers, Joanne Liu and Anthony Costello.

Joanne Liu gave a broad and gritty overview of the effects of conflict, both direct (through burns and shrapnel injuries) and indirect (through preventable diseases, missed vaccination, malnutrition, mental ill-health and sexual violence). She highlighted the ongoing issues Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Sudan in addition to the current humanitarian crisis in Syria.
Her main take home message to us in the developed woprld: “Make us temperature stable vaccines so we don’t need the transport cold chain”!

Anthony Costello talked about reducing the global burden of disease in children by using an “honest broker” approach – based on theory in “The Honest Broker” by Pielke.
He went through a nice overview of the classic international child health issues as summarized in UNICEF data, and then described in a little more detail his recent collaboration in the development of community action cycles (one summary of this concept here) targetting expectant mothers in developing communites to improve perinatal neonatal and maternal health.
He ended with a brief, slightly cycnical comment regarding the current Ebola epidemic (which he felt was surmountable), but then, a more emphatic comment regarding Climate Change: “Ecological sustainability is the ultimate challenge and will make Ebola look llike a tea party”, or at least, something to that effect…

What am I going to do in WA?
1. Talk to my children about these issues
2. Think about how I can make a better contribution to local (remote WA) areas of need.
3. Talk with colleagues about how the RACP can develop a policy about how Australian children may be affected by climate change. Our children need us to do more about this, I think. But it needs to be on a co-ordinated international scale.

Now I gonna eat more fatty churros (actually the conference food is ok…)