7TH ANNUAL PUBLIC HEALTH CONFERENCE 2016 AT HEALTH SERVICES ACADEMY: EXPERIENCES IN THE FIELD OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND WAY FORWARD
Background: Health Services Academy held its 7th Annual Public Health Scientific Conference in December 2016 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The theme was Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Health: Collaborating for Prosperity. Over seven hundred international and national public health specialists attended to share research initiatives, build partnerships and strengthen networks. Post-conference online survey was emailed to all participants to facilitate a more structured feedback and hence evaluation of the two day event.
Methods: An online instrument was developed using the “Survey Monkey” template. Total participants (n=757) were invited to complete the online survey which consisted of five sections: Likert scales were utilised to ascertain how “informative” the conference was to the participants. Comment boxes were provided for each section to collect qualitative responses. The quantitative data was collated by Survey Monkey and presented in percentages. Manual thematic analysis was utilised for the qualitative data.
Results: The final online surveys emailed was seven hundred and four and of these just over two thirds (67%) were opened and 33% (n=230) were unopened. The latter emails may have been in the “spam” box or not opened. Of the opened surveys (n=474) nearly two hundred were completed and emailed back, a response rate of forty two percent (n=199). The quantitative data revealed that the majority of respondents (75%) found the plenary sessions to be 'very informative 'and approximately half of the respondents considered the scientific sessions to be 'extremely informative' or 'very informative'. With respect to how useful the conference was to the participant's field of public health, almost half (44%) responded 'very useful and over a third (34%) responded 'extremely useful'. The top three themes recommended for the 2017 Conference included Nutrition; Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health and Sustainable Development Goals.
Conclusion: The majority of survey respondents agreed that the conference was a success and the theme was useful in their own field of public health. Several themes for the 2017 conference were provided with a focus on nutrition the most popular.