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Princess Basma Inaugrated (IFMSA-JO) Regional Conference
19 January, 2012

The Jordan Times
By Laila Azzeh

AMMAN – More than 140 medical students representing 16 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region are currently being trained in critical issues related to women’s health.

In a regional conference held by the Jordanian chapter of the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations (IFMSA), the students are attending workshops and seminars on women's health in crisis management, family planning and the role of physicians in protecting women from violence.

HRH Princess Basma, who attended the opening of the 8th Eastern Mediterranean Regional (EMR8) meeting on Thursday, expressed her appreciation for the theme of the gathering and its focus.

Addressing the meeting, the Princess called on the students to contribute to improving the situation of women in the Middle East and enhancing the principles of freedom, justice and equality.

"In this critical stage for our region, in which poverty is considered one of the most prominent challenges facing our societies, choosing the humane medical profession provides you all the opportunity to achieve your noble objectives in voluntary work to address the profound effects of poverty on human health," she highlighted.

Princess Basma cited the medical campaigns carried out by the National Goodwill Campaign, from which more than 100,000 underprivileged patients have benefited.

Founded in 1951, IFMSA is a global, independent, non-governmental federation of medical students' associations, run for and by medical students on a nonprofit basis.

It now has 98 national member organisations from six continents and has represented more than 1.2 million medical students.

Although the Kingdom only joined IFMSA a few years ago, it has already became one of the most active members in the entity, Ibrahim Malkawi, president of IFMSA-Jordan, told The Jordan Times.

"Hosting the annual regional forum means that we have already distinguished ourselves in this international federation," he said, noting that IFMSA-Jordan includes 1,400 students from the University of Jordan and the Jordan University of Science and Technology.

During Thursday's ceremony, a short movie was screened highlighting the Jordanian chapter’s activities and achievements, such as facilitating the establishment of mobile hospitals, carrying out medical days and raising awareness on health issues.

IFMSA-Jordan also supports exchange programmes, sending around 50 students every year to Europe and the US to exchange knowledge and other practical skills.

Ahmad Khatib, one of the event's organisers and head of IFMSA-Jordan’s health education committee, said the organisation helps students acquire hands-on experience while still at university and learn to think "outside the box".

The Higher Population Council will acquaint students with issues related to family planning and women's reproductive health during the event, which ends today.

The EMR is an annual meeting between IFMSA countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region: Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Iran.

Last year’s EMR was held in Dubai.