Talitha Tschöke: Specializing in global health to save the world’s most vulnerable communities
Talitha Tschöke, 25, Brazil
Hello, world changers! My name is Talitha Tschöke and I’m a 25-year-old Brazilian medical student and a Youth Human Rights Ambassador. I will share a bit of my experiences with you, being a dreamer in an amazing unstable world.
I’m in my fifth year of medical school in Brazil. I also studied Global Health and Health Care and Science during one exchange program at Hogeschool van Amsterdam.
I’m really interested, as a future humanitarian doctor, in public and global health, mental health and women’s health. Nowadays, I’m focused on improving my experiences and promoting new ways of thinking and connecting health to gender equality and human rights.
I was born in a small city and I’ve always been in love with humanity. I remember my first dream was to be an artist. I wanted to become an actress and a writer. I’ve always loved to be connected to people and their histories and to interact with them in a real way.
As a child, I was always looking for poetry to read from around the world. I was always moved, hoping to improve societies where inequality exists. And wanting to help people, I chose to study medicine, which I also consider to be a form of art.
When I first joined medical school, I didn’t agree with the teaching method and felt for a long time that I was not part of that community. Everything was too technical for me and my view of taking care of people’s health was much wider.
Many times I said to myself that it was not for me, it was not what I believed in when I chose to take care and be there for people. Medical university was not meeting my expectations and I was frustrated, so I started looking for more things to do.
I applied for a governmental scholarship project to work in a suburb on the primary health care focusing on the quality of prenatal and humanization of women’s health. During one year (2013-2014), I worked following the services, collecting data and doing research about humanization of maternal-child health. One year later I got other governmental scholarship to study abroad. I went to the Netherlands (2014-2015) to study Healthcare and Science and Global Health, where I also did a survey with transgender people to understand their psychological, physical and social difficulties and to fight against the stigma against minorities.
In 2016, I attended a conference on health and human rights, LabCitoyen 2016, in Paris, and I was one of 52 young people from 39 different countries admitted to participate. We deeply worked on subjects as social determinants of health, sexuality, women’s health, HIV-SIDA, ethics, mental health, minorities and people in situations of vulnerability, education and access to healthcare. This is also when I received a Human Rights Ambassador diploma.
In the end of 2016, I was invited to participate in a Human Rights Hackathon in Bogotá, Colombia for the year France-Colombie 2017, where my group worked on the subject of violence against women and we designed an app to inform and educate women and also to help them in cases of emergency.
Beginning this year, during my summer vacations, a professional that I met in this conference invited me to work with her at FEHAP (Fédération des Établissements Hospitaliers et d'Aide à la Personne) in Paris.
Throughout this amazing opportunity, I worked on a survey and on creating a guideline about the ethical issues of care at home for people in situation of vulnerability (as elderly, people with neurodegenerative diseases, mental and physical disabilities, etc.). I interviewed directors, professionals and users involved in this service to have a holistic view of the paradigms. I had a great and plural experience, as I experienced people’s daily life realities and sufferings and the administration’s limitations.
In 2017, I also won second place in a World Health Organization essay competition about U.N. Agenda 2030, health policy and systems research. Two colleagues and I wrote about the importance of promoting better health systems, universal health coverage and knowledge exchange focusing on South-South cooperation modalities, as well as engaging communities, creating and strengthening partnerships for funding and encouraging effective advocacy and sustainable health policy interventions to promote the realization of the SDGs in a systematic manner.
In Brazil, I have experience as a psychiatric mentor student. I used to attend medical education meetings and I’m currently still involved in public mental health and women’s health. I’m also developing a volunteering project with a friend to teach English and to empower children in vulnerable situations, as we believe that access to education is essential in promoting well-being and healthcare for all.
Attending the Youth Assembly at the U.N. as a youth delegate gives me strength to continue dreaming and working to contribute to a better and healthier world for all, where people can live with dignity and respect with strong bodies and strong minds and where women, children, youth and the most vulnerable can speak out and are not left behind.