This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Anushna Banerjee, a final year medical student and researcher at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, 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.
“There is nobody in the world who is not missing something.”
Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine waking up every morning with having half the population washed away. Those aren’t statistics, those are that many families shattered. No explanations, no closure – a reality today’s youth is dealing with, with their heart in their hands every single day. Who else would best understand the need for effective health governance?
Come 2019, we have seen crises of all sorts. A failing and unequipped healthcare system against a raging pandemic of this magnitude, climate crisis, hunger, poverty, domestic abuse. Whole of mankind grappling for oxygen- something as basic as air to breathe. You name the worst nightmare, we’ve seen it.
WHO shares that with more than half of the planet under 30 and a world’s population that is younger than ever before, only the youth have voices that should be heard. An age group between 10 and 24 years, when an individual experiences immense physical and cognitive changes will be the best bridge to the gaps and dents incurred. Achieving the health-related SDGs include the strategic goals of: 1) Leadership 2) Global health 3) Country impact 4) Partnerships, so the most efficient team will be one with a multi-disciplinary approach from all spheres of the world – innovations in healthcare, financing, taxations, heath policies and laws, students at the grass-root level- in collaboration with heads of states and varied range of partners. In words of Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations: “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.”
Butdespite the UNGA resolution of ‘empowering the youth to contribute as active members of society’ and the WHO mandate for ‘engaging with young people’ as a part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the outcome still stands a challenge. Giving the younger generation the freedom to explore, innovate and implement without clouding their judgements and not pushing to renovate existing traditional health models is important in determining how equipped a world we create for the next. There are young men and women who are activists, revolutionaries and philanthropists whose work is far away from the radar of social media, who do not seek recognition but are doing their very bit. Even if that includes being a voice at the youth parliament. Even if that includes delivering free medicines to a family in need. Even if that means holding an umbrella for a child in the rain.
Quoting the ‘Special Presidential Envoys for Future Generations and Culture’ at the 76th UNGA, BTS- today’s youth still persisting amidst this grievous reality should rather be called “welcome generation” and not a “lost generation”.
This isn’t the first global health crisis and will not be the last, so it’s only best we nurture the minds of young people as the way forward.
About the author
Anushna Banerjee, is presently a final year medical student and researcher at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India. A member of MSAI, she has previously participated in a collaborative project with IFMSA-Pakistan. She considers that wholly treating an individual and not just a disease is imperative in reducing global mortality. An active member of the ACP and AAFP, she shares an inclination towards hackathons. In her time off, one can spot her on treks(read:mountains)/writing/watching mukbang. Banerjee strongly believes standing up for oneself is key because no one else does it on behalf.