Strategic Health Decision Making – Youth-led Initiatives

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Kalyani, a final year Medical student from Kerala, India. 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.


“No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy.

Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime.

Young people must be included from birth. A society that cuts itself

off from its youth severs its lifeline; it is condemned to bleed to

death.” —Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations

The case for securing a more firmly established commitment to greater participation for young people is of considerable importance. Young people’s interest and opinion in the decision making scenario especially that of the Health sector is deliberately disregarded and growing intolerance of young people in the public arena as if they are owned by the adults alone.

Health sector is an ever growing space and new initiatives, technologies and strategies are being culminated day by day. The real empowerment is obtained when the youth identifies themselves being able to develop strategies, networks, organisations or campaigns in the health sector. Not only are youth proving to be catalysts and prolific communicators in social movements, but their involvement signals a potential for career choices and civic stewardship that portends improving population health and equity in the years to come. 

There are many sectors that can provide immense opportunities for the involvement of youth in decision making.

 1. Research : The youth provided with training as researchers and undertaking independent investigations focusing on issue of the health fields mainly on endemic and outbreaks.

 2. Development and management of their own organisations and peer groups with setting up of their own structures, policies and priorities for action.

 3. Youth council and parliaments for health action plan and addressing of public health issues.

 4. Conference participation in local, state, national or international levels with significant outcomes.

 5. Health policy analysis and development by reviewing the current policies and improvement based on their perspectives.

 6. Representation and advocacy

 7. Making thorough use of media like running radio sessions for issue addressing, developing video tools for public awareness of health issues, publishing journals.

 8. Programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of specific need in specific areas can be done.

The past decade as witnessed the gradual increase in inclusion of youth in the decision making. The one such good example is that of Golden valley health centres to build awareness about the medical outreach mobile health clinic (MOM). They have been leading efforts in working with stakeholders and school administration to get a health centre on their campus.

Shifting emphasis in the improvement of prevention of widespread diseases to the social and environmental factors has opened up more opportunities for the youth in decision making. Including participation in community organisations and social media as informal indicators youth can have a prominent role in the same. The early personal investment in the youth with skill of decision making can portend a brighter future for population health and civic involvement as well.

Yes YOUTH – Make the CHANGE

  • KALYANI S

About the author

Kalyani is a final year Medical student from Kerala, India. She loves to explore life and places in varied perspectives. Loves debates and delegation on public health issues. A verdant lover of spirituality and vedas with an essence of wow in everything. Loves to serve people and make someone’s day. Orator, artist, poet and dancer since years. Loves medicine and researches. Pursuing dreams and being available to people who need.

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