Youth Delegate Program

Youth Delegate Program

The goal of the Youth Delegate Program of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations - the Netherlands (IFMSA-NL) is to increase the engagement of future health professionals with global health policy. Each year, one student will commit themselves to this goal as youth delegate, which, amongst others, entails that they attend the World Health Assembly (WHA) as part of the Dutch delegation.


The World Health Organization (WHO) is the UN Organisation tasked with addressing global health. As usual in UN Organisations, the WHO has Member States; nearly all countries across the world are a member of the WHO. The Member States make joint decisions on global health policy during the annual WHA in Geneva. There are sessions on a variety of topics, ranging from Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, to tobacco policies, from Pandemic Preparedness and Response to the WHO budget, from health in the Sustainable Development Goals to antimicrobial resistance. During the year, the WHO staff work in the regional offices as well as in the Geneva headquarters on health policy, supporting countries, responding to health crises, providing education, drafting and releasing guidelines, and more. The WHO is primarily a norm-setting organisation, rather than executing and implementing policies. For more information on the work of the WHO, check who.intthe WHO website.

Youth Delegate Program

The engagement of medical students and other future health professionals in health policy is essential, as many policy decisions made affect the patients that will enter our hospitals and practices in the future. Like antimicrobial resistance: if no measures are taken today, in the future, there will be many more organisms resistant to our treatments. However, the majority of future medical professionals know little of (international) health policy and the role of international organisations like the WHO. To inform and engage future health professionals in international health policy, the Youth Delegate Program, a collaboration between IFMSA-NL, the ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport was established. The first pilot was held in 2017, after which the collaboration was continued. Meanwhile, the Youth Delegate Program and IFMSA-NL have also become part of the SDG3 Alliance and the Dutch Global Health Alliance.

Coordination of the Youth Delegate Program

The IFMSA-NL Youth Delegate Program is led by two co-coordinators: Sie Meng Lee en Kimberley Nagesser. They are responsible for the selection and coaching of the youth delegate, organisation of the Masterclasses Global Health Diplomacy and maintaining collaboration with external parties. They regularly meet with the Youth Delegate and support them in their preparations for the various activities during the year.

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