PHASA Conference 10 September 2022 - 14 September 2022
One of my highlights about the PHASA conference was the incredible energy. Every day I was excited to learn as the conference had programmes covering a broad range of tremendous insightful sessions. I have seen scholars and academics attending the plenaries and panel sessions. I have seen also high-profile speakers touching on very important topics. I was motivated and inspired by seeing other people presenting their research topics with so much passion. It was my first time to present my research projects at a conference and I was keen to share my research findings with other scholars and academics. I presented on a Monday where I presented under the topic: the role of child support grant in keeping adolescents in secondary schools. This topic was put under rural health and mental health session. On Wednesday, my presentation was on the beliefs and perceptions of adolescents about sexual relationships, and it was under the theme, women adolescent, and child health session. A major highlight was on Tuesday (13 September 2022), where I attended a session on the response to Covid 19. Lastly, all planetaries and session were very informative and enlightening, and I learnt a great deal.
I had a great experience attending my first PHASA conference, and was delighted to have been invited to present my paper. The PHASA conference provided the platform to network with public health researchers, academics, and leading experts in the field. I took advantage of this amazing opportunity to discuss potential collaborations with professionals who also work in the mental health field. I found that the health promotions special interest group took the limelight at the conference, where they encouraged interaction among delegates from various fields with a common goal of developing strategies to reduce the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and sugar in order to improve health outcomes. The effects that this group had could be seen throughout various panel sessions where health promotions was brought up by delegates who had learnt more about health promotions over the course of the conference. This has inspired to start a mental health group, and efforts will be made to establish this group for the next PHASA conference. While the mental health panel session could have been promoted better, it was reassuring to see the improved turnouts for the remaining mental health sessions.
On the 11th till 14th of September 2022, we attended PHASA conference. We had a great opportunity to social network, attend panel discussions, skills building workshops as well as poster and oral presentations. It was amazing to learn more about turning the prospect of a health promotion and development foundation into reality. I also enjoyed listening to panel discussions about public health preparedness in managing climate change and progress towards achieving national health Insurance.
I was very disappointed to see how sessions around mental health were not well coordinated. We had to invite people to come and attend mental health presentations. On the 12th of September, I was given 5 minutes to present my poster. I enjoyed engaging with people about accommodation services for people living with serious menta illness. People were also interested in knowing how we will apply our findings to avoid tragedies like Life Esidimeni. Lastly, we also attended conference dinner and PHILA awards, where we danced and enjoyed social networking with other researchers from different fields.