Primus inter pares

Two senior students from First Med took part in the Ariel Foundation Changemakers Summit

Two senior students from First Med took part in the Ariel Foundation Changemakers Summit

From the 18th to the 20th of February 2015, young people from around the world took part in the Ariel Foundation Changemakers Summit on “the Right to Health and Access to Medicines” at the United Nations with the purpose of promoting the voice of the youth on global issues. Our voice projected the opinion that the Right to Health concerns more than just access to medicines. Young people represent 25% of the world’s population and we should be given the chance we deserve to fix this world. An underlying issue is the need to increase public awareness of the Right to Health and the economic, political, social and logistical obstacles to accessing medicines. Two senior students from First Med took part in all the sessions and round tables of the Summit.

Awareness and acceptance of mental health issues is not sufficient. It is recommended that on a national level, educational initiatives must be taken to raise awareness of the varied and numerous mental issue and a culturally sensitive approach taken to tackling the stigmas surrounding the issue. The lack of especially trained psychiatrists in many countries was also identified. One concrete solution proposed was the provision of intensive psychiatric training to existing medical practitioners. There is also a lack of focus upon mental health on an international level, a solidarity campaign similar to “HeforShe” should be implemented. Moreover, mental health should be included within the Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 3.4 of the current proposals simply mandates the promotion of “mental health and wellbeing”, this is not sufficient. The mentally ill are a marginalized group yet unlike women and children, they are not subjects of legally binding international covenant. As a long-term goal, it is recommended that a comprehensive international legal framework protecting the rights of those with mental health issues be created.

Besides that, there are two groups of persons omitted from this discourse. The first group is women denied access to abortion procedures services after being raped in conflict. Secondly, we believe that individuals involved in the sex industry should be protected under any programs implemented in relation to the Right to Health.

Punam Bhar, 6 year student