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Better safe than sorry

We all want to live a long healthy life. However this is not guaranteed as most young people thought they would perish when COVID-19 striked.

Recently the streets were filled with shocking news of how young people aged 15-24 are infected with HIV. With at least 1500 young people getting infected each year, 1000 being female and 500 being male, HIV becomes one of the most deadly threats to the health of youth.

Not to mention podoconiosis (swelling of the legs) caused by walking and working on irritant volcanic soils. This is newly popular in Rwanda amongst young people who work in farms and mines. There are numerous health hazards emerging each day.

So what can be done to ensure good health and wellbeing? Who will save us from the unknown. Well, we turn to SDG3: Good Health & Wellbeing.

SDG3 focuses on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages as this is essential to sustainable development. Here are some of the targets attached to the SDG that also create opportunities for young people by 2030:

Reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births. Young people can play a role in reducing deaths by being part of the research teams; by identifying areas that are causing deaths and reporting them to local authorities.

End the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases. One of the key things for young people to do is to practice safe sex. Prevention is always better than cure.

Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol. The selling and use of drugs should not be tolerated by the youth. Drugs ideally do not solve problems but just provide an escapism mechanism; however this leaves you broke and with more problems. Think about it. Say no to drugs!

Halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents. Speed does thrill but it also kills. Young people should drive safely. When a moto guy is speeding, tell him to slow down. Encourage your parents to alway drive safely.

Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks. Health public hearings are now and again held. Are young people part and parcel of these processes? Is the messaging appealing for them? Youth should play a role in these public hearings and processes, for example vaccination processes and any other health related initiatives

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