The 35th Eastern Regional Conference: extension of submission deadline for presentations and key note speakers

The 35th Eastern Regional Conference

Date: February 6, April 3, and June 5, 2021
Venue: Online
President: Masamine Jimba (The University of Tokyo)
Theme: New perspective of global health: Education, human resources for health, research, and international cooperation East Regional Conference will go online this year. The three days of the conference have different themes for oral sessions.

February 6, 2021: Education and Human Resources for Health
(Submission deadline for presentations: January 29, 2021 [extended])
April 3, 2021: Research
(Submission deadline for presentations: February 26, 2021 [extended])
June 5, 2021: International Cooperation
(Submission deadline for presentations: March 31, 2021)

Keynote speakers are as follows:
February 6, 2021: Dr. Noriko Fujita (National Center for Global Health and Medicine)
April 3, 2021: Professor Taro Yamamoto (Nagasaki University)
June 5, 2021: Professor Tomohiko Sugishita (Tokyo Women’s Medical University)

As a morning event, the academic writing seminar will be held for Japanese researchers who write papers in English.
Anyone is welcomed to join the conference, even from outside of East Japan regions. For more information, visit the following registration site:

COVID-19 as a global health concern: what about the less-advantaged?

COVID-19 as a global health concern: what about the less-advantaged?
Masamine Jimba,
President, Japan Association for International Health


COVID-19 is becoming an increasingly urgent problem by the day. What can our association, with its over 1000 members, do? First, let us reflect on the basic philosophy of this association. The following two points are the essence of what is written in our association’s mission.
  • The world is full of health inequities. How do we eliminate unacceptable inequities? This is the most crucial issue for us all.
  • We know that we have “global health” colleagues all over the world sharing the same vision. “Global health” is the process of making this world a better place by reducing health inequities.
Keeping these statements in mind, let us look at what is happening. Up until now COVID-19 measures by Japan and the US seem to be moving in the direction of widening the global health inequity gap. As infections in China rose and spread, from the beginning of February, Japan and the US have moved towards banning specific Chinese citizens to enter their countries. This could be justified as a national security measure to protect citizens of these two countries. However, what if we saw this from a human security perspective at global level? I wonder if taking this step is the only appropriate way.


If high income countries like Japan or the US impose strict rules, people will instead relocate to lower income countries. This is because the law enforcements and restrictions are laxer in these countries. These lower income countries usually have weaker health systems, and laboratory examination and detection systems are also weak. Moreover, proper treatment is not possible without costly payments. In other words, countries which protect only themselves are actually exposing lower income countries to an enormous infectious risk and burden.


Those who have political and economic power may have the privilege to escape to safer places. However, they might have already been infected and consequently, this might cause the virus to spread to other areas. People who cannot easily escape (slum dwellers, the elderly, the sick and others) might become infected, their condition worsens, and eventually may end up dying. The widening health inequity gap due to COVID-19 is unacceptable. Therefore, we must take a global stance when considering COVID-19 measures.


So, what can we do in light of this situation? Although we may be small in numbers, we have friends and colleagues all over Japan and all over the world. Some members are working on the frontlines of infectious disease control as administrators, quarantine officers, health officers, contractors or researchers. We will first salute these efforts, support their work and pray for their safety.


At the global level, we also have members who have experience working in China, and many regions including Asia Pacific, Africa, Middle East, and Latin America. Moreover, we have members now working with JICA, NGOs, the private sector, and UN organizations in these regions. Some of them are working at the grassroots level, too. Let us take this chance to utilize the network among our members and amplify the voices we hear from the field.


We must take utmost care in obtaining the newest and most reliable information domestically and internationally, and disseminate this information properly. From there, we can find hope. By listening to the most reliable voices, we can rapidly take specific actions when the virus tries to spread within Japan and in the world.


Finally, I would like to introduce one more essential part of our mission statement. “The medical and health field is progressing daily, yet, there are still people who are not able to benefit from this progress…The socially disadvantaged greatly suffer from this inequity gap…In response to this, we should always stand by their side.”


(February 17th, 2020)