Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hello Everyone!

Today started on a cold dry note that comes with the harmattan season in Nigeria. As usual, the weather is cold (for a tropical environment) and dry, the environment is very dusty and excitement is building up everywhere for the upcoming end-of-year holidays. As expected, the Christmas/New Year holidays mean a lot to people all over the world and based on background, environment, culture and personal experiences, it entails varying activities. Well for me, apart from the usual colors, ceremonies, fanfare and religious activities, the Christmas holidays mean lots of exciting reunions with friends and families. There are parties, get-togethers, church programs, live concerts, road trips, picnics, short vacations and other social activities that keep you afloat and refreshed till you are sorry when it is all over.  I think that for most Nigerians, this period is almost an equivalent of the summer break in the western world. Therefore, these holidays are annual robust experiences that I always look forward to and that I am grateful for.

As an ODL student, the holidays mean ….. well …. HOLIDAYS! Currently, I have completed my semester courses and I presume that most full time students should be currently rounding up with their exams now.

This session, studying has indeed been quite exciting and engaging. My last two courses were basically focused on “Zoonotic diseases” with topics skittering around global efforts at zoonotic disease control. As my colleagues and I (together with our course supervisor) discussed on these topics together we were introduced to a globally relevant topic that has been trending for a while now in development circles. Just in case you seemed to have missed it, I introduce to you to the Sustainable Development Goals, also known in its short form as SDGs. The SDGs is a new global development agenda with a target timeline for 2030 that builds on the Millennium Development Goals (which ends this year). The goals spread its focuses on various key pillars of development that need to be addressed in our present world. These issues as shown in the diagram below include health, poverty alleviation, economic development, inequalities, environmental protection, climate change, global security etc.

Most of our class discussions on SDGs centered around the 3rd SDG as that goal had the core relevance to our studies and profession in global health. Generally, these courses gave all of us the opportunity to contribute thoughts, experiences and suggestions on the SDGs and how to bring about its effective implementation. Based on our course discussions on the SDGs, we all agreed that it is necessary for the SDGs to move from simple rhetoric to core implementation in all sectors and communities worldwide.

Therefore, as we go about our daily lives, this is a global wake-up call for everyone irrespective of profession, socioeconomic status, race and religion to work cohesively and stay united in the quest to positively sustain our world to secure our future. This unity is even more essential in light of the recent global threats to human security which if not tackled wisely, might lead to a structural breakdown of civilization and have a negative ripple effect on other pillars of development. Therefore, our unity in purpose, efforts and actions towards holistic sustainable development is necessary and we all need to consciously lay aside our differences to work out vision 2030 towards our safety and well-being. To maintain this for ourselves and our future generations, our health must be promoted, environment must be sustained, our economies must be developed and our lives must be secured.
Vision SDG 2030 might seem like an over-ambitious, over-arching goal, but it can be achieved with each person's CONSCIOUS ACTON STEPS.

As we enjoy the holidays and spread cheer and goodwill, let this guide our thoughts towards the new year goals. For real, let each of us add at least one SDG to our resolutions and goals and ACT on them, who knows how much we might achieve?

Happy Holidays in advance!