Basic Health Units in the promotion of the 2nd SDG: Zero Hunger

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Laura de Arruda Martinhago, 18 years old, a medical student at Unicesumar University, Maringá, Brazil. 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.


Five years have passed since the United Nations implemented the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to be achieved in another ten years. However, between 2017 and 2018 the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics identified more than 10 million people in situations of food insecurity in Brazil,¹ a worrying evidence that undermines the achievement of the hunger eradication goal set out in the 2030 Agenda.

Meanwhile, projects like community gardens in Brazilian cities need stronger union of government, companies, non-governmental organizations, citizens and health professionals. Promoting access to healthy food, directly or indirectly, can be done by the Basic Health Units (BHU) in Brazil. The first case is observed in São José dos Campos, where one of the BHU offers unoccupied spaces for planting vegetables which are harvested by the patients themselves, resulting in healthy and low-cost food, along with a treatment associated with nature that brings mental health benefits. Indirectly, as in the city of Maringá, there is the use of spaces that are unsuitable for civil construction and so communities registered in the neighborhood’s BHU can plant and consume the vegetables, in addition to receiving support from companies such as the Agro-industrial Cooperative of Maringá (COCAMAR) and the State University of Maringá (UEM),2 thus generating more than 200 tons of food as estimated in 2012.3

Between the SDGs, many of them can be achieved with such measures, in other words, the different Global Health Issues are interconnected. The creation of community gardens to eradicate hunger is linked to the third, eleventh and twelfth objectives, with respective results: good health and well-being (by adequate nutrition  of babies receiving milk from their nourished mothers, and with the caring and eradication of neglected tropical diseases, such as dengue), sustainable cities and communities (with the providing of decent and healthy food for the peripheral populations) and responsible consumption and production (the use of rain for irrigation and involvement of citizens results in more people alert to the importance of sustainability).

Therefore, it’s noticeable and extremely necessary a stronger union of the public, private and personal sectors, including citizens and health professionals, in oder to bring Brazil closer to the eradication of hunger and achieving of other SDGs, in a way where no one will be left behind, and Brazilian people’s quality of life can  be improved through the development and growing of the community gardens.

References

  1. Pesquisa de Orçamentos Familiares 2017-2018: Análise da segurança alimentar no Brasil / IBGE, Coordenação de Trabalho e Rendimento. Rio de Janeiro: IBGE; 2020. Available from https://biblioteca.ibge.gov.br/visualizacao/livros/liv101749.pdf
  • Albuquerque JO. Horta Comunitária de Maringá: Inclusão Social e Produtiva. Mostra de Projetos: Estratégias para o desenvolvimento local e o alcance dos Objetivos de Desenvolvimento do Milênio; 2012; Maringá. Available from http://www.fiepr.org.br/nospodemosparana/uploadAddress/Horta_Comunitaria_de_Maringa_Inclusao_Social_e_Produtiva%5B40003%5D.pdf
  • About the author
  • Laura de Arruda Martinhago, 18 years old, is a medical student at Unicesumar University, Maringá, Brazil. Making the world more sustainable has intrigued her since the 7th grade of primary school, when she had the first contact with environmental impacts by human intervention, so her group developed games with reuse materials such as cans and makeup with natural substances as coals. Since then, she has tried to be more responsible with nature, like turning buckets into organic compost containers at home, separating recyclable garbage and making soap with grease.  Now she is trying to connect with her profession.

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