Centre for Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive, and Child Health

MARCH Retreat 2016: An Alumni’s Perspective

Written by Magdalena Goyheneix

Though my country seems far away from London I still feel close to it. Ultimately, I consider myself a citizen of the world. It was in my country, Argentina, where I was able to study medicine and train as a paediatrician. After finishing my residency I had the opportunity to work with MSF in a variety of contexts and countries, but did so mostly in paediatrics and more specifically in the treatment of severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

Witnessing the unacceptable conditions which so many children and their families live in, and how this affects their health and ability to develop pushed me to further my understanding of the root of this reality; hoping I would be able to do something about it.

I am still on that path I must confess, but it is that path that brought me to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where I did the MSc in Nutrition for Global Heath (2014/2015). Going through the School allowed me to have a better understanding of health problems worldwide, their complex causes (when we can unravel them), as well as possible solutions. It was enriching and inspiring working with so many outstanding professors and people; from colleagues to school staff, all from different backgrounds working with passion and commitment to build a better and more just world.

It was through my time at the School that I came to know the MARCH centre and the incredible work they are doing. I am grateful to all the members for their enlightening work. I think the MARCH centre masters the challenging task of translating knowledge into action in a variety of ways and themes. The life course approach is a much needed vision, and the centre has the ability to disseminate this vision around the world.

Thanks to an alumni grant I was able to attend the MARCH centre retreat this year. The morning talks gave us a general picture of the current issues in Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive and Child Health with extraordinary speakers such as Anthony Costello, Susan Sawer, Alan Dangour and Jimmy Whitworth. They challenged us to think which questions we should be addressing.

This was followed by an overview of the current research being done on Survive, Thrive and Transform within the A B C themes; this sparked a fruitful debate about how the MARCH centre is interacting with other centres and researchers within the School.

Lunch allowed us to enjoy the “research marketplace”, which was full of materials, tools and information on a range of subjects – from helping babies breathe to research grants. A group work discussion around each theme gave us the necessary time to brainstorm and interact (and come up with new ideas!). The day closed with an amazing panel on international development and research leadership in LMIC. This part was particularly inspiring for me, not only as an example of how this can and should be achieved, but also because it opened my mind to a new perspective on research, leadership and capacity building in the countries that have the highest burden of disease and the lowest resources.

When I thought the day couldn’t get any better, we were treated to a spectacular view, games and food in a friendly and relaxing environment at the evening event. I extend my thanks to the alumni centre for giving me the opportunity to participate in such an important and special day for the centre, and to the members of MARCH. I can confirm that you helped me to achieve the goals which brought me to London in the first place.

Image Credit: Pablo Tsukayama



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