SDGs and the historical and economic impact on Brazilian health

IFMSA 2018 European Sting

(IFMSA, 2018)

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Gabrielle Bonilha Miranda, a 22 years old student who is currently coursing the second year of medical school. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

The concept of health as being absence of disease was modified since the biomedical model of learning was replaced, gradually, by the humanized one in medical schools around the world.

Health, nowadays, therefore, considers not only biological, but economic, social and environmental aspects in the life of a human being as well, and Brazil, in accordance with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), has been working so that these determinants are improved. However, like most countries, it does encounter historical barriers in the process.

The type of colonization of the country – exploration – have determined that natives and also slaves brought from Africa were inferior and thus less favored. As a consequence, I observe income and education disparities daily, compromising the wholesome of these and other minorities.

For this reason, the government has applied the quota system in colleges for low-income people, natives, blacks and browns, with the aim of reduce historical inequalities, which has apparently moved towards a better quality education and, along with other social programs, increased the quality of many Brazilians’ lives.

In addition to the slightly improvement in the purchasing power of the population, the increase in the consumption of industrialized products and automobiles – historically classified as a sign of development – has also happened, causing serious environmental problems. Great São Paulo, for example, is extremely affected by pollution; so, inhabitants of this city have one of the axes of their wellbeing compromised.

Carlos Walter said that “in the Western world, nature and society are terms that are excluded”, showing the current mentality totally focused on economic aspects. The problems already mentioned and all those that have been discussed and listed as SDG have as foundation the devaluation of nature and society; sustainability and responsible consumption, gender equality, the right to health for all should always be above material goods, yet we live in a capitalist collectivity in which it is impossible not to think of money. Still, it is imperative that there is a balance between the determinants of health.

I conclude that government changes are very important to achieve the suggested goals, but they should not be exclusive. Brazilian society needs to be aware of global proposals in order to get close to the achievements. I believe that IFMSA Brazil is an excellent way of raising awareness, since its philosophy is to think globally and act locally.

The International Federation of Medical Students Association can play an essential role in protecting the health of future patients who will be taken care of by myself and my colleagues; it is of our interest that effective and right attention be paid to the health of the population.

About the author

Ms Gabrielle Bonilha Miranda is a Brazilian 22 year old student who is currently coursing the second year of medical school. She truly enjoys doing extracurricular activities such as being LORE-D of IFMSA Brazil Unicesumar, attending classes of academic leagues, working on campaigns and volunteering in social work when not studying the mandatory subjects.

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