Part I – Erlangen
After multiple visit of the German team to Pakistan, the German team members have finally had the opportunity to host the Pakistani team for a two week stay in Germany. In the evening of October 17th, seven members of Khyber Medical University (KMU) arrived in Erlangen to be greeted by the FAU team. During the Kick-Off session the next morning, the consortium finalized the details of the agenda for the coming weeks. The mornings and afternoons were used for working group meetings as well as plenary sessions, during which the teams gave feedback to each other’s progress and discussed open questions. The atmosphere was marked by team spirit and motivation, and solid advancements were made in moving forward the research.
One special highlight of the week in Erlangen was a public lecture held by Dr. Zohaib Khan. As a trained dentist and public health expert, he has been a firsthand witness to the devastating effects of smokeless tobacco on the oral cavity. He shared snippets from his research on the role of smokeless tobacco in oral cancer, and how that work enabled him to become part of the largest global health research group on smokeless tobacco. Dr. Khan also presented findings of the research work carried out in collaboration with his German research partners, explained the economic consequences of smokeless tobacco use in South Asia, and highlighted the role of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The lecture was followed by a lively Q&A session, during which listeners from different backgrounds got to ask their diverse questions.
The evenings and weekends were spent with team building activities and getting to know the German culture: Eating traditional “Kässpätzle”, discovering the Nuremberg castle and spending the weekend in a remote hostel, the research team deepened already existing bonds.
Part II – Heidelberg
On October 24th, both KMU and FAU team moved to Heidelberg to take part in the Early Career Workshop of the DGGÖ Working Group “Health Economics and Development Cooperation”, an exciting event where early career researchers have the possibility to present their research on the theme of health economics and development. During the workshop, two members of the FAU team presented their current research in Pakistan. The presentations were followed by an active discussion with senior researchers and the audience, which allowed the PhD students to receive relevant feedback and useful suggestions to make progress on their research. Moreover, on the following day the DGGÖ main event took place, during which Dr. Zohaib Khan (KMU), Dr. Lisa Rogge (FAU), and Laurène Petitfour (HIGH) held presentations on their research and also had the possibility to gain relevant feedback.
The following days were used to continue the discussions started in Erlangen within the working teams and make progress on the overall research on the SHPI Phase 2, as well as to meet with KfW and m4h and discuss with them about the current status and the next steps of the collaboration. Finally, the team had time to appreciate German culture by visiting Heidelberg castle and the Altstadt. Overall, the visit to Germany was a great occasion to strengthen the collaboration among team members and to make relevant advancements on the research. The German team was a great host and the KMU visitors are very grateful for its support and its hospitality.