UN SDGs and healthcare

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Ándrew Suguru Sato, a 22 years old and a second-year medical student at Unicesumar, Maringá, Brazil. He is affiliated with 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.

There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the 2030 Agenda and one of the goals that future health (care) professionals can contribute to is the 3rd objective, which guarantees a healthy life and promotes the well-being of all, at all ages. But what would health be? Because we often think that the simple act of treating a patient is the same as promoting health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is a state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and not just the absence of disease or infirmity. It doesn’t seem like an easy task, especially for students like us, who have a long way to go. However, it still doesn’t prevent us from contributing to health promotion.

Perhaps that to reach the absence of the disease, we need to know how to diagnose and treat the patient, which requires experience and a lot of study. But when we think about well-being, we can make some suggestions and recommendations for the people we are serving in outpatient clinics, home visits or even on a daily basis. For example, we can advise about healthy eating habits, such as the consumption of foods in natura or minimally processed and avoidance of too much fatty, caloric and sugary foods, with chemical additives and mainly salty, which us Brazilians usually eat more than twice the recommended amount. Also, drinking plenty of water and avoiding too much soft drinks, beers and other processed drinks. Besides, we can advise about other healthy habits such as physical activity, adequate amount of sleep (on average 8 hours for adults), socializing (currently at a distance), and avoidance of the use of cigarettes (also showing posts that can help in this process).

However, one more important thing is that, as future health professionals, we need to apply these recommendations to our daily lives, since we often advise others but don’t put it in practice. I believe that by doing what we say, we begin to understand the person’s side. For example, we realize how difficult it is to always have healthy food at home for the humblest people, how difficult it is to sleep one day in the middle of a race and have children to care for, among other things. This way, we start creating compassion and empathy, having a more holistic view of the human being, learning to take care of him as a person and not as a simple patient, and developing a more reciprocal doctor-patient relationship. To understand this philosophy is to understand that, beyond being professionals, we are human beings who can help other human beings through the profession, and so we realize the importance of our role in this world.

The role of the future health professional is to do what we can do now, to understand what it is to be human and to cure at times, to relieve almost always, and to always console.

About the author

Ándrew Suguru Sato is 22 years old and a second-year medical student at Unicesumar, Maringá, Brazil. He is the president of the Academic League of health and spirituality (LIASE). He has always been dedicated to helping vulnerable populations from extracurricular projects, and developing the human side by the group Humanizart.

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  1. Healthcare is critical when it comes to UN SDGs. Thank you 😊

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