Empowering Young healthcare workers to be future healthcare entrepreneurs: Road to SDG8

healthcare china

(Mehr Muhammad Adeel Riaz, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mehr Muhammad Adeel Riaz, a final year medical student in Punjab Medical College, faisalabad, Pakistan. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. 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.

In the memory of Dr Usama Riaz; first healthcare professional who died while treating coronavirus patients in Pakistan.

I am sitting in the corridor of Allied hospital, Faisalabad, Pakistan and thinking about my seniors who are serving at the frontline in hospitals despite not having access to protective suits and masks. It is my social responsibility to narrate the stories of socio-economic hardships faced by the young health workforce. Young healthcare providers (doctors, nurses, midwives, lab technicians and related paramedics staff) are key actors in providing the quality healthcare services to the communities. Decent work conditions in the healthcare sector for young healthcare professionals are essential for socio-economic cohesion and achieving SDG8. This goal promotes “sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”. (1)

According to UNFPA, over the last decade, the healthcare and social care sector has become the biggest employer of the young people. (2) Today, we are facing an unprecedented trajectory in the working of existing health systems. Demographic and societal shifts have intensified the pressure on the young healthcare workers.

In a developing country like Pakistan, the young healthcare force is witnessing the paradigm shift not only in teaching but also in their clinical training methodology. Increased working hours, lack of communication and support from senior colleagues are proving to be detrimental to “productivity” at workplaces; which in turn should be the byproduct of passion and commitment towards their work. Moreover evidence demonstrates that due to lack of incorporation of social medicine in undergraduate curricula, young healthcare graduates face difficult time while addressing the needs of vulnerable people and people from different cultural backgrounds resulting in healthcare disparities.(3)

It is exhilarating how many challenges we are facing as young healthcare workers. As they say, bigger challenges are the opportunities for growth. An urgent spiral of institutional support can increase the idea of productivity and bring the transformative change in support of SDG8 in its three dimensions of sustained, inclusive and sustainable working conditions in healthcare. Changes can be brought by promoting gender diversification, technological upgrading and empowering future healthcare professionals to be advocates for health equity nationally, regionally and globally. Furthermore, by updating the undergraduate educational curricula and including young undergraduate students in policy making processes can help in empowering them to be health system leaders and entrepreneurs.

In the nutshell,  the education system needs to take advantage of multidisciplinary edge effects to provide young healthcare workers with practical insight into how healthcare professional leaders discuss, set criteria and deliver to the masses. This is how we can provide young healthcare workers decent working conditions which will enhance their passion and engagement with their colleagues and work environment.


1- Review of SDG implementation and interrelations among goals Discussion on SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth  https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/23844BN_SDG_8_Decent_work.pdf

2-  UNFPA. State of world population 2014: adolescents, youth and the transformation of the future. New York (NY): United Nations Population Fund; 2014.

3- Michelle DallaPiazza, Manasa S. Ayyala & Maria L. Soto-Greene (2020) Empowering future physicians to advocate for health equity: A blueprint for a longitudinal thread in undergraduate medical education, Medical Teacher

About the author

This article has been written by Mehr Muhammad Adeel Riaz; final year medical student in Punjab Medical College, faisalabad, Pakistan. He is affiliated with International Federation of Medical Students Association(IFMSA) and serves as Vice President of Capacity Building (VPCB) of his Local Council. Mr Riaz is a proud medical education advocate working on faculty development projects in collaboration with the Health Professions Education & Research department of his medical college. He aims to work with academic professional organizations like WHO and WFME to bring the change in teaching techniques and methodologies in medical education nationally and globally.

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