The Emerging Voices program is the initiative of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, and it aims at empowering health researchers from the Global South by providing an intensive skills training and facilitate their participation in a global health conference. EV4GH has a globally representative governing board and a secretariat.
The first Emerging Voices venture (EV2010) ran in parallel with the First Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Montreux, Switzerland. To give people from the Global South the chance to present their research and policy agenda on the global scene, ITM decided to encourage them to have their voice heard. Through an essay competition 50 Emerging Voices were selected to present their ideas on how to progress towards universal health coverage (UHC), the topic of the 1st Global Symposium. An intensive skills training and universal coverage immersion turned their performance at the 52nd ITM Colloquium into a remarkable and innovative event as well content-wise as in terms of methodology (Pecha Kucha, Fishbowl discussions, …). In other words, an international competition was combined with a capacity building experience, innovative conference formats and two conferences (Antwerp Colloquium and Montreux Symposium).
The Second Global Symposium on Health Systems Research took place early November 2012 in Beijing. In view of the success of the EV2010 the WHO Alliance of Health Policy and Systems Research encouraged an Emerging Voices 2012 track (EV2012). The selection process, which was integrated in the Second Global Symposium on Health Systems Research call for abstracts. We received 300 applications, of which 50 EV 2012s were selected. Those selected were invited to participate in the full Emerging Voices program which was organized in Beijing, jointly with Peking University Health Science Center.
The EV4GH 2013 edition was linked to the AIDS in Africa Conference (ICASA), ‘Now more than ever: targeting zero’ in Cape Town, South Africa, 7 to 11 December 2013; it was hosted by the School of Public Health and Centre for Research in HIV and AIDS at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Within the broad field of HIV in Africa, EV4GH 2013 had 3 thematic tracks: a clinical track, a prevention track, and a health systems track.
The EV4GH 2014 track linked up with the Third Global Health Symposium on Health Systems Research, Science and Practice of people-centred health systems, in Cape Town, South Africa, from mid-September to 3 October 2014. The School of Public Health at the University of Western Cape, South Africa hosted the Emerging Voices for the second time. Together with the University of Cape Town, Peking University Health Science Center, Institute of Public Health Bengaluru India and the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp joined forces to make this new venture a success. The Third Global Health Symposium on Health Systems Research had allocated 8 thematic tracks in which the Emerging Voices 2014 were also divided into.
Earlier in 2015, a new globally representative governance structure as well as a new secretariat was appointed for the Emerging Voices Program, with the secretariat situated at Institute of Public Health, Bangalore, India.
EV2016, continuing with the tradition of partnering with a significant health systems research symposium, was held in close association and partnership with fourth global symposium on health systems research, 14-18 November, 2016 at Vancouver, themed, ‘Resilient and responsive health systems for a changing world.’
EV2018 was held in Liverpool, in close association and partnership with the fifth global symposium on health systems research from 8 – 12 October 2018. The theme for the symposium was ‘Advancing Health Systems for all in SDG era’. For the EV2018 venture, there were two tracks one for researchers involved in health policy and system research (researcher track) and the other for health professionals, health journalists, activists, decision or policy-makers and/or other health systems actors (the ‘change agents’ track).