Future healthcare professionals: a charge to keep we have

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Antwi Judith Adwoa Takyiaw, a Ghanaian medical student of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. 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.

          One hymnist wrote: “A charge to keep I have, a God to glorify. A never dying soul to save, and fit it for the sky.” Just as the hymnist wrote about a charge Christians have to keep, we as future healthcare professionals also have a charge to keep. In completing their education and becoming healthcare professionals, physicians are required to swear the Hippocratic Oath, one of the oldest binding documents in history: to treat the ill to the best of one’s ability, to preserve a patient’s privacy, to teach the secrets of medicine to the next generation, and so on. In effect, physicians are bound by the oath to serve humanity, a great charge that is.

          In 2015, after the Millennium Development Goals ended, the 2030 agenda was adopted, and at it’s core are seventeen Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs). This 2030 agenda calls for the participation of all people, irrespective of our differences. And as healthcare professionals are bound to serve humanity, they can by no means be left out of this partnership. This article seeks to highlight the role of future healthcare professionals in the achievement of the 2030 agenda.

          To start with, future healthcare professionals are responsible for the attainment of the third Sustainable Development Goal(SDG) which regards good health and well-being, the official wording being: “To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” In relation to the first nine targets of the SDG 3, future healthcare professionals like obstetricians and gynaecologists will have to provide quality care to women to reduce maternal mortality. Paediatricians will have to provide the necessary care to children, to prevent deaths at younger ages. Psychiatrists and psychologists will have to help to promote mental health. Aspiring healthcare professionals of other specialties will have to help to fight communicable diseases, help in family planning, reduce deaths from road accidents, and so on. In effect, the achievement of the third SDG is dependent on how effective healthcare professionals will be in the near future.

          Apart from the third SDG, future healthcare professionals will have to contribute to the achievement of the 2030 agenda in many ways. Their acquisition of education will reduce the number of illiterates in our societies and hence the fourth SDG will be gradually achieved. Making healthcare professions accessible by both sexes will also greatly enhance gender equality, leading to the gradual achievement of the fifth SDG. Future healthcare professionals will have to engage in decent work in the near future, after completing their education, so that economic growth will be accelerated and this will contribute to the eighth SDG.

          Though brief, it can now be seen the role that future healthcare professionals will have to play in the achievement of the 2030 agenda. However, time is running out. It’s time we all stood up and worked harder than before to beat time and to bring to fruition the 2030 agenda. A charge to keep, we have: It’s time to rise up to the occasion as healthcare professionals!

About the author

Antwi Judith Adwoa Takyiaw is a Ghanaian medical student of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. She is currently in her third year and will complete in 2024. A product of Wesley Girls’ High School in Cape Coast, Ghana, Judith aspires to specialise in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and also study law to become a women’s advocate to help the less privileged women all around the world.

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