Improving Chronic Patients’ Healthcare: How can Youth get involved?

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Ibrahim Dafallah, a third-year medical student studying at Alzaiem Alazhari University in Sudan and Ms. Mabel Rios Garcia, a final year medical student at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima-Peru. They are 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 writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

The healthcare system as we all know ultimately aims to improve the health of all people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, basic health services were severely compromised. Neither could people seek clinical attention or receive treatment like before nor could the healthcare system extend services given the risk of COVID-19 infectivity, low hospital capacities, and the health workforce vulnerability.

Those most impacted by this phenomenon included many groups that could not easily access healthcare such as internally displaced persons and refugees and those who needed frequent access to healthcare, primarily those suffering from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, and cancers.

The nature of chronic and morbid diseases means they require increased hospital visits, are difficult to treat, and are responsible for the majority share of morbidity and mortality of our world today. As we begin to see the light of day following the pandemic, it’s time to rethink how we view our health systems during crises and how we can cater to those who need it the most.

With the continuous development of the past few decades, it remains possible for the health system to adapt to such crises. It has been almost 50 years since the adoption of the concept of primary health care. Since then the World Health Organization placed a clear roadmap on how primary health care is essential to the prevention, screening, and care for chronic patients- it’s only obvious how the quality and coverage of health services play a central role in the resilience of health systems. Through the use of digital technology and e-health to organize and secure patient databases as well as provide clinical consultations and telemedicine, the status of the communication technology in healthcare has to be solidified.

With room for improvement, there is also a great area to focus on: the youth, people, whose ideas and actions take a big part in the change we want today. Here we include their roles in global health, public health, and efforts towards addressing public health issues.

As medical students and youth in general, we unite to speak up about issues affecting us and this allows us to reshape the future to our vision. Many examples of the efforts that are carried out by youth include activities within the scope of chronic diseases prevention by playing an active role in prevention and promotion through coordinating screening campaigns, exercise days and awareness walks, advocacy campaigns on on-site and on social media, improving student awareness about non-communicable diseases through the curriculum and developing partnerships with various stakeholders to produce change that improves living and working conditions within the social determinants of health, which have been linked to the incidence of NCDs.


“Addressing Noncommunicable Diseases in the COVID-19 Response.” Accessed February 21, 2022.

Kluge, Hans Henri P, Kremlin Wickramasinghe, Holly L Rippin, Romeu Mendes, David H Peters, Anna Kontsevaya, and Joao Breda. “Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases in the COVID-19 Response.” Lancet (London, England) 395, no. 10238 (2020): 1678–80.

About the authors

Ibrahim Dafallah is a third-year medical student studying at Alzaiem Alazhari University in Sudan and currently serving as the IFMSA Program Coordinator for Health Systems.  His interests include universal health coverage, neglected tropical diseases, and research. He looks forward to improving health outcomes as a future doctor. 

Mabel Rios Garcia is a final year medical student at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima-Peru and currently serving as the IFMSA Program Coordinator for Healthy Lifestyles and Non-Communicable Diseases and the IFMSA-PERU Vice-President for Activities. She is passionate about youth involvement in chronic diseases prevention and healthy lifestyles online promotion.

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