Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Student Reflections on Topics Covered in our Class

Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Vision for the world 2030-Sustainable development goals

September 8, 2020 · No Comments · SDGs, Uncategorized

Sustainable development goals are a list of 17 goals adopted by the United Nations and it’s 193 member countries. The SDGs provide a vision for a better and more sustainable future by 2030.

  1. No poverty
  2. Zero hunger
  3. Good health and well being
  4. Quality education
  5. Gender equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean energy
  8. Decent work and economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
  10. Reduced inequalities
  11. Sustainable cities and communities
  12. Responsible consumption and production
  13. Climate action
  14. Life below water
  15. Life on land
  16. Peace, justice, and strong institutions
  17. Partnership for the goals

 The goals are extremely relevant, primarily because, they aim to promote prosperity for everyone on this planet, especially the poor and the vulnerable sections of the community, secondarily because they hope to make the earth a better living space taking care of its precious natural resources which are rapidly moving towards extinction and most importantly because they require integrated efforts by all human beings. 

Increased attention to sustainable development goals | PBA

Engaging US youth in the development goals is extremely encouraging. I feel that schools and colleges are the primary centers of learning. Making SDGs a part of the curriculum and involving youth in the propagation of the SDGs is one of the best and fastest ways of sharing information. Most of the people in today’s day and age are active on social media, be it Twitter, or Instagram, or Facebook. The youth play the biggest part in sharing information via social media.

Youth, all over the world, are inspiring role models. One such person, Jaha Dukureh, a human rights activist, born and raised in The Gambia, was subjected to type 3 female genital mutilation when she was barely a week old. Entering an arranged marriage setup that been planned several years earlier, she moved to New York when she was hardly 15 years old. She continued to study and enrolled in a high school and later in a business administration program while battling an unsuccessful marriage, rejections from schools, and the consequences of FGM she endured years earlier. This incident led her to establish Safe Hands for Girls, an anti-FGM non-profit organization in 2013. Her efforts have led to the banning of FGM in The Gambia and have created a space for FGM survivors in Atlanta, the first of its kind in the whole United States of America. Women, just like her, have been subjected to injustice for centuries now. Her story gives hope to several such women out there. 

Having lived in Atlanta for over 2 years now has made me realize the number of problems that plaque Atlanta, starting from homeless, poverty, a lack of affordable housing, and racial injustice. According to the Creating Connected Communities, Atlanta has been named the 4th neediest city in the US with homelessness and poverty majorly affecting the children. In spite of being known as the ‘Cradle of Civil rights movement’ and being the birth-place of Martin Luther King Jr, Atlanta has been battling racial injustice with the  Killing of Rayshard Brooks most recent incident. Additionally, what most of us would not know about is the scarcity of freshwater that Atlanta is facing and with drying up of lake Lanier will probably worsen over the years if not managed well.

The most surprising question, though, is that why have we never heard of the SDGs before? If not for the Global Health, I would have never had the opportunity to know more about these goals, which brings me to the next question. Even as public health students, if we weren’t aware of the sustainable development goals, how would we expect the rest of the world, especially those who are not remotely associated with public health, to know about these goals? I believe that it is particularly important that these goals be made a part of the curriculum. Most of us would not have witnessed any of these inequalities, be it inequality in education or jobs or living conditions. The video by Hans Rosling has made us aware of the appalling conditions that a large part of the population lives in. The survival of the community is only possible by bringing together everyone, making sure that everyone has access to the same basic rights, and that no one is left behind to fend for themselves. That is precisely what the goals target to achieve by 2030. To bring about a change requires that people be aware of sustainable development goals. That is where educating the community about these goals, and its relevance comes in, either through schools and universities or via social media, flyers, billboards, or simply word of mouth.

As an MPH student, we get to not only know the statistics but also understand the how and the why behind it. I feel that is the greatest power that public health student/worker has. We know what has caused this inequality and what will worsen it. Food donations, clothes donations, advocating for equal job opportunities or equal education opportunities or housing or for climate change, is definitely a step in the right direction. However, what is required is grassroots level changes. Combined efforts to improve the bottom of the pyramid, socio-economic status, is the call of the hour. As mentioned by Hans Rosling, there is an inequality in the financial aid provided to low income, middle income, and high-income countries. Addressing these inequalities will in turn ensure equitable job opportunities, education, and housing among many others. Similarly, there are places that do not have electricity yet and we have an abundance of it.

The irony here is that those who are a witness to inequalities do not have an opportunity to voice their concerns and those who have an opportunity to raise a voice are not aware of the same. Thus, it is very important to make people aware of the stark contrasts that the world currently faces. Spreading awareness about these inequalities and the SDGs is not a difficult task in the current day and age, considering that the entire world today runs on social media and the internet. These goals are a wake-up call, prompting people all over the world to take swift and calculated actions in the right direction. There is no time to waste and the world needs everyone to come together and make sincere efforts to fight for the survival of the world population.





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