High-Level Dialogue on Health in the Post-2015 Development Agenda concludes in Botswana


IFMSA Interventions at the Global Thematic Consultation on Health in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, delivered by IFMSA President Roopa Dhatt

March 3-5, 2013 in Botswana

Intervention #1—Importance of YP in the Development Agenda, Health in All Policies, and Getting to the Root Cause

Young people are a large population. Health issues (such as mental health, violence, injuries, child marriages, unprotected sex, early pregnancy and childbirth, sexual coercion, HIV) and social issues (such as employment, environment, education) continue to challenge their ability to meaningfully participate in achieving their future. We urge the post MDG framework to increase young people’s analysis, perspective and participation. We also urge the post MDG to consider forgotten voices of marginalized and vulnerable groups regardless of political, religion, social, racial, national, sexual, gender, national, sexual or any discrimination.   Not only are young people the future, but also they will be responsible for sustaining the efforts that are set now. We should engage with young people early on about healthy lifestyles, sexual reproductive health, and career planning and use them as a vehicle for social change, specifically in increasing the shortage in human resources for health.

We also feel that health should be placed in other policy agendas beyond the development agenda and the sustainable development. We urge the creation of more health indicators that are context specific, age-specific, and population specific in evaluating policies.

We encourage the global community to seek and address the root cause of inequity and the determinants that challenge health and well-being, especially in empowering young people early on.

Intervention #2—Political Language and Health in all Policies

  1. We need a political language that is universal–understood and useful across sectors, so we can have more meaningful dialogue on setting the development agenda, especially if we are aiming for a more integrated approach.

We have heard a great deal about Human Security as potential framework that is emerging in some other non-health settings. It is a framework that focuses on development, human rights and state security. It is focused on the needs of people, multi-sectorial, integrated, and focused on both protections and empowerment.  It is a tool for both design and evaluation.  We need to consider such frameworks.

  1. We need to keep our approach multi-sectorial, focused on sustainable efforts, addressing root determinants of health, bridging gaps, and integrating at the local level.
  1. The how still needs to be answered, as we focus on these efforts.                                                       

Intervention #3—Human Resources for Health/Health Workers


When we talk about setting the health priorities for post-2015, we have to ask ourselves several questions.

  • Who are the targets of these priorities?
  • Who will be central to responding to the health priorities? Human resources for health or Human resources for development.
  • If these are health workers or similar groups, how do we plan to engage with them and include them in setting in the post-2015 agenda?
  • What will be their health literacy?
    • Will this include?
      • Multi-sectorial approach
      • Social Determinant of Health/ Determinants of Well-being
      • Sustainable development
      • Global heath
      • E-Health
      • Addressing the needs of target, marginalized and vulnerable groups
  • How do we plan to build their capacities and make sure quality is


As a future health care provider, answering these questions are essential to setting the future development agenda and insuring that health priorities that are set are achieved.


Intervention #4—Specific Target Groups and An overarching goal on adolescents and young people


While we support universality of the goals that are set in the next development agenda, we want to highlight the importance of outreach to specific target group, like marginalized and vulnerable populations, especially adolescents.  While we do support the notion of age-specific, life cycle or other similar groupings for an over arching goal, we want to make sure that specific target groups are emphasized.

 Moreover, we would like to propose to the health community, about considering another additional overarching goal. We have heard in the room these past days a lot of mention of young people and their engagement, involvement, and access to health services, especially sexual reproductive health services. We also have been hearing at the UN level, at the WHO, the Rio+20 and other thematic consultations the importance of investing in young people as an emerging theme.


We have been discussing about the future…

The many health issues we discussed are most pertinent to young people, especially adolescents…(topics such as sexual reproductive health, mental health, violence, child brides, even health lifestyles and NCDs apply)

Young People are the future…

So why don’t we put adolescent health on the global development agenda, as an overarching goal?

Such a goal would be universal, sellable, and compelling.

Such a goal appeals to sustainable development (green economies, future generation)

Such a goal has the potential to be multi-sectorial (job employment, education, environment, nutrition)

Social determinants of health are a reality for young people, especially adolescents’ future.

Young people are innovators of social media, new technologies, tools and approaches.

Young people are already in some cases acting as human resources for health. 

Young people are engaging already on claiming their future and investing into it.


Discussion Points on Round Table during the meeting


GOAL: Universal Health Coverage

  • The goal as is comprehendible, sellable, and universal.
  •  The message should be more universal health access versus universal health coverage.
  • We should make sure that such a goal, also has a specific mention for target groups, especially vulnerable and marginalized groups like migrant, rural, indigenous, young people.
  • We should take the time to incorporate more sustainable development concepts in the goal, including sustainable practices.
  • The goal should prepare health systems for a dynamic environment and not only the health issues of now, but for the future.
  • Human resources for health (health workers) are an essential aspect of achieving this goal, so greater emphasis should be placed on targets for this workforce in the development agenda.
  • When we talk about prevention, we should talk about health literacy and what competencies are we aiming for in UHC.
  • There also needs to be emphasis on quality and therefore, quality indicators created, no only indicators on service coverage and protection.




GOAL: Maximizing Health Life Expectancy

  • The goal is hard to understand and is not very sellable, but universal.
  • We recommended changing the language to promoting a more understandable message and one beyond health, as a larger over arching goal (either well-being, healthy planet, maximizing human potential).
  • We recommended age-specific targets, but making sure that there is a special mention of target groups, especially adolescents, marginalized and vulnerable populations.
  • We should avoid in this setting creating silos and emphasize the multi-sectorial possibilities with other sectors such as education, green economies, environment, and nutrition.
  • Additionally, there is potential to make this a larger goal.
  • The possibility exists to keep the healthy life expectancy as an indicator.
  • We should also integrate more sustainable development concepts and language into this goal—include education, green economies and the environment.

Written by Roopa Dhatt, IFMSA President 2012/13

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