Rwanda to host the 7th World Healthcare Students Summit (WHSS)

Rwanda has won the bid to host the 7th World Healthcare Students Summit (WHSS) slated to be staged in late 2017, becoming the first sub-Sahara African nation to accommodate this prestigious global conference since its inception in 2005.

The 2017 WHSS presents a unique opportunity for African healthcare scholars, especially for the East African region and the hosts Rwanda in particular, accommodating this biannual conference for a historic first time. Over 1000 participants from over 100 countries are expected to take part in the 5-day global summit.

Despite the fact that the organizing team is yet to announce exact dates and the venue, this conference has already started attracting attention from various stakeholders, mainstream media and social media. According to one of the organizers, Richard Bishumba, this event is projected to take place in late 2017, either in October or November in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.

The World Healthcare Students Summit is the world’s biggest healthcare students’ conference. This multidisciplinary summit gathers health-care students of all backgrounds and fields of specialty from all over the world.

Unlike other international conferences where students of the major meet every year such as the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPSF) World Congress or the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) World Congress, WHSS entertains diversity and the need for inter-professional collaboration, bringing on board all students and fresh graduates from all medical, health and allied sciences.

WHSS was initiated as a fruit of alliance between 8 global student organizations namely; International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPSF), International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), International Veterinary Students Associations (IVSA), International Association of Dental Students (IADS), European Medical Students Association (EMSA), European Pharmaceutical Students Association (EPSA), European Dental Students Association (EDSS) and European Confederation for Physical Therapy Students (ECPTS).

The 2017 edition (7th) of WHSS to be staged in Rwanda, aims at generating discussion and understanding between professions, develop skills and awareness of concepts on a multidisciplinary scale and create advocates for a cooperative approach to patient-centered care in order to optimize health outcomes.

The bid to host this mega event was lodged by Rwanda Pharmaceutical Students Association in June and unanimously won a fortnight ago after considerable experience in organizing international conferences such as the 2015 African Pharmaceutical Symposium, the 2015 International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPSF) Trainers Development Camp and their annual International Pharmaceutical Symposium among others.

Winning this bid comes as no surprise to Rwanda, a country that is regarded as an ideal hub for international events and conferences. Only this year, Rwanda has hosted the Championship of African Nations (CHAN), The World Economic Forum on Africa, the 27th African Union Summit and the Global Investment Summit on Africa to name a few.

Rwanda is among the world’s most represented nations with top level positions in international healthcare students organizations. To mention a few, Israel Bimpe is the President of the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation while Magnifique Irakoze is the chairperson of the African region in the International Federation of Medical Students Associations.

Previous hosts

2005 – Malta
2007 – Portugal
2009 – Egypt
2011 – Czech Republic
2013 – Switzerland
2015 – Macedonia