The final countdown towards achieving the 2030 Agenda: The contribution of future health(care) professionals

(Credit: UN)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Fatima Ayaz Zuberi, currently a third-year student of MBBS in Army Medical College, Pakistany. She 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.

What is the 2030 Agenda?

Agenda by definition means “a list of aims or possible future achievements”. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) constitute the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and guide all global, regional and national development endeavors for the next 15 years. The seventeen goals were adopted by all United Nations (UN) Member States in 2015 and they are as follows:

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well Being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Reproduction
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for The Goals

This decade has been called as the “Decade of Action” by many leaders of the world and urge societies to work for the achievement of these SDGs within their local and private capacities. Having said this, each one of us has an important role to play when it comes to achieving the 2030 Agenda especially future health-care professionals and leaders of tomorrow.

How can I play my role as a young health-care professional?

Young medical students can play their role almost in all of the 17 SDGs aforementioned but they can effectively and actively work for SDG 2, 3, 4, 5,10, 12, 13 and 16 since these areas are one way or the other related to their domain of work. Moreover, future doctors also get more chances to educate their communities and their words are generally paid heed to. So, if a young future health-care professional wants to promote the cause then they must:

  • Join an association or society:

There are many societies international, regional, national and local ones that play their part in ending poverty and hunger, advocate human rights, fight for gender equality, endorse action against climate change, strive for universal health coverage (UHC) and try spreading awareness among the masses; run by medical students. One such association is International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA). If one wishes to actively work for human rights, peace, gender equality and public health, then one may join their respective committees. Joining such a society will not only keep us updated but also provide opportunities to engage medical students in achieving the SDGs laid out by the UN. Others include Pakistan Youth Aid (PYA), United Nations Volunteers (UNV) etc.

  • Advocate:

“All advocacy is, at its core, an exercise in empathy”.

-Samantha Power

Medical students also play their crucial role in bringing many societal issues to limelight by raising their voices against the injustices and problems that prevail in the society. Many revolutions took place due to the joint efforts put in by medical students. Student-led UHC campaigns have extensively brought the subject to highlight in many governments. Advocacy on mental health, gender equality and reproductive health has led to development of new policies in many sectors all because of future health-care professionals who spoke on behalf of their communities.

  • Educate:

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

-Nelson Mandela

Doctors and medical students are in a very close contact with the masses and general public. The duty of educating them about health and reproductive rights, gender equality and social justice falls upon their shoulders.

Lastly, I must mention that being a future health-care professional, it’s almost crucial to say that we must be the most responsible elements of the society. Being a “messiah” (as many cultures regard doctors as a messiah or savior) has never been easy but we must play our role.

About the author

Fatima Ayaz Zuberi is currently a third-year student of MBBS in Army Medical College, Pakistan. She is also Local Officer on Research Exchange in her Local Council. She is also a part of SCORE National Team IFMSA-Pakistan. She holds a keen interest in research and enjoys reading in her free time. Since childhood, she has been very eager to help those in need and play her role in the betterment of humankind.

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