(Photo “Volunteering in Uganda” courtesy of Rebecca Best)
Selfless is inspiring global health leaders of the future. In partnership with Tropical Health & Education Trust (THET) and UKAID, Selfless’ One Day Leadership Summit in September 2015 brought together 100 students with a shared passion for global health.
Rebecca Best, a medical student at Cardiff University, developed a passion for global health following her experience as an inpatient of malaria in Uganda at the age of 16. Since then, she has taken every opportunity to increase her experience and knowledge within the field of global health, leading to her application to become a Global Health Ambassador with Selfless.
Prior to the conference, she felt she lacked the opportunity to have a direct impact. Fully inspired, and armed with a skill set developed at the conference, she contacted secondary schools in Cardiff to see how she could get involved in the community. She got a positive response from the head of Year 8 at Cardiff High School, who agreed for her to come into school three times over the autumn terms to deliver classes on HPV and Cervical Cancer.
“I was really keen to talk to Year 8 school pupils rather than students or people in the local community because I felt that my topic was most relevant to this population. I was in the first year of students that received the HPV vaccination and I can remember having no idea as to what the vaccine was for and why only the girls were receiving it”
When delivering the talks, followed by a Q&A, Rebecca found a lot of the children had no idea why they were being given the vaccine, with many of the boys believing they were also going to receive it.
“I feel like I’ve made a real impact to Year 8 students at Cardiff High School because they’re now educated about the vaccine and understand why it’s important that they receive it. I hope that they now feel a lot less anxious about the experience and will be more positive about it when talking to friends and family”
This provided Rebecca with an opportunity to fully design her own project and arrange how she was going to deliver it to others – different to volunteering experiences she had in the past. She describes it as “nerve-wracking but very rewarding”.
“I’m really grateful to Selfless for the opportunity, as the speakers at the training day gave me the confidence to feel like I could actually make a difference”.
Following this experience, she hopes to train up to 30 other Cardiff medical students to carry out the training themselves and is looking to try and implement HPV teaching into the secondary schools to allow this training to continue once she has left medical school. After third year, Rebecca is intercalating in Clinical Epidemiology while also acting as president for the Prehospital and Emergency Medicine for Students (PEMS) Society, and hopes to pursue a career in Emergency Medicine in the future.
Selfless would like to congratulate Rebecca Best and all of our Global Health Ambassadors on their incredible work!