The 2030 Agenda: The Contribution of Future Healthcare Professionals

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Sowmya Kruttiventi, a recent graduate of Coimbatore Medical College, India with an interest in Paediatrics. 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.

 In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly passed an ambitious resolution to accomplish 17 connected global goals by the year 2030, which were intended to be ‘a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030’. Fast-forward to 2021, and the world is in the throes of a global pandemic that no one foresaw.

The global economy has taken a hard hit and the disparity between various economic groups has never been more evident. According to the ILO (International Labour Organisation), the equivalent of 255 million jobs have been lost in 2020. Healthcare infrastructures worldwide are stretched to their limit, and in countries like India, on the verge of collapse. We are witnessing some of the darkest days of humanity. The 2030 Agenda seems like an idealistic, utopian fantasy.

Working towards the Sustainable Development Goals requires cooperation between multiple disciplines and stakeholders. If anything, this pandemic has served to highlight just how essential healthcare workers are to this effort. The next decade will undoubtedly bring its own set of challenges, which is why it is crucial for the budding healthcare professionals to be actively involved in working towards these goals.

Lack of awareness and misinformation are some of the biggest challenges faced on the ground, stretching across geographical and socioeconomic divides. This is a significant impediment to health programs such as vaccination drives, sexual health services, to name a few. To combat this, we require robust public health education campaigns. It lies in the hands of the future healthcare professionals to educate and, therefore, empower those in need. Health literacy is the first step to health equity.

We need to build stronger and more efficient health systems. While every country has unique needs as well as challenges, the global benchmark must be translated into national and subnational action. As future healthcare professionals will one day play an instrumental role in implementing these systems, it is imperative that they be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to play an active part in the system.

Young healthcare professionals must be encouraged to connect and establish networks with their peers from other parts of the world. This will enable pooling of knowledge and experiences, which allows for the possibility of finding new solutions to existing problems in our settings.

As students, we are taught that health is closely intertwined with its social determinants. Yet, this is often lost in daily practice and health continues to be treated as an isolated phenomenon. We, as the healthcare professionals of the future, must start looking at the bigger picture. Changes must be made in the way we think and operate. This is not a choice, but rather our duty — for we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. Let’s think big and make some change.

About the author

Sowmya Kruttiventi is a recent graduate of Coimbatore Medical College with an interest in Paediatrics. She believes that there is nothing more important to public health than a well-informed populace — a Sisyphean task in a country like India. To this end, she also enjoys writing about her own medical experiences through a humorous lens. She has been a member of MSAI for the past year and enjoys organising educational events targeted at medical students.

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