The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a worldwide call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Adopted in 2015, the SDGs comprise of 17 Goals that aim to transform the world by 2030.
As part of the #WednesdayCelebrateWomen #WCW Campaign, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek asks each WCW feature to pick one of the SDGs which resonates with them most and share how they plan to work towards achieving that particular goal.
Sister Christy, a registered nurse at the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) and UNIC Windhoek’s #WCW for the month of March, chose Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being. This goal is intended to safeguard healthy lives and uphold the well-being for all at all ages.
Echoing the targets of Goal 3, Sister Christy says that, “Health is a fundamental human right for everyone, irrespective of your gender, race, age educational status or socio-economic background, and every person is entitled to have the best possible health status.”
In terms of Goal 3, noteworthy steps have been taken to increase life expectancy and reduce needless deaths associated with child and maternal mortality. From the time the SDGs were implemented, much progress has been made on increasing access to clean water and sanitation, reducing malaria, tuberculosis, polio and the spread of HIV/AIDS worldwide.
Good health and well-being is a key focus area in Namibia and in Sister Christy’s work. She explains, “It’s my responsibility to be part of the team that actively works hard in order to promote health, prevent disease and prolong life.”
Increasing knowledge, raising awareness and shifting attitudes related to the prevention, promotion, treatment and rehabilitation of common health have been some of the attention areas in achieving Goal 3.
Sister Christy pledges to try her, “[…]utmost best to create awareness and provide health education on the importance of healthy lifestyle choices and timely health care, not only [for] cancer but [for] health in general.”
Everyone can play a part in ensuring that awareness is spread and people are educated about good health and well-being. To achieve the SDGs, it will take a united effort by people all over the world. Transformation will occur when people begin to take advantage of the resources available at their disposal, reach out to those around them and lead by example.
As part of the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN), Sister Christy takes, “[…]full advantage of the opportunity and resources available during the national cancer outreach campaigns, to monitor and assess the challenges faced by our health systems and communicate accordingly.”
With non-communicable diseases (NCDs), increasing in Namibia, Sister Christy highlights that, “Lifestyle choices determine our health and well-being.” According to the World Health Organization, NCDs are diseases that cannot be passed from person to person and the four main types of NCDs include cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes.
Significant strides have been made in achieving good health and well-being worldwide and in Namibia, but there is a long road ahead. Sister Christy emphasises that, “Without a healthy nation, sustainable development cannot be achieved.”