Knowing When to Partner (W3)

It’s not easy to find a partner

Wherever we look, finding a partner seems to be the struggle everyone faces. Leaving Tinder alone for now, and taking a positive perspective on this topic, let’s see how Finland tackled the issue of preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Sir Michael Marmot introducing data on childhood poverty

Tackling NCDs, one of the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals, challenge every country and seems to be as difficult a goal as finding Mr. Right. According to Sir Michael Marmot, the ultimate cause of many NCDs is inequality. His engaging presentation showed how much more deprived children suffer from obesity, how the “fascination with killing each other with guns” contributed to the reduction of life expectancy in the US, how badly inequality affects children and their development, and how tackling inequalities could actually lead to preventing NCDs.

Busy Young Gasteiners taking notes on Workshop 3

As usual, one Nordic country has come up with an approach to tackling NCDs that is worth sharing. Ms.Taru Koivisto from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland told us their “how” in the morning workshop; “knowing when to partner”. The Finnish government – as Sir Marmot said – does not love child poverty, so they introduced tax reductions for the poor. But that’s not the only thing they did. They found partners. Their idea was the wide, intersectoral political approach with the involvement of the private sector. Doing what they could via politics, they implemented health education and sports in their school system – though my personal favourite has to be the idea to teach kids how to cook healthy food. One can totally imagine 13-year-old boys cooking beans, right? No, really, the idea is actually great, you’ll never change your lifestyle later unless something terrible happens! In order to influence healthy lifestyle, they also partnered up with the private sector, to tackle the issue of marketing healthy vs. junk food.

Looking at it from the outside, I can only say that if this works, Finland is indeed on the right track to prevent many NCDs.

There is no way I can introduce all the speeches properly, so I decided to go with the positive messages. According to Mr. Greg Perry, doing what Finland does, i.e. tackling NCDs is possible. Even in Africa. Of course, in order to do so, we need to team up with the private sector, the pharmacy industry and basically anyone who’s willing to work to achieve the same goal. This sounds rather optimistic, doesn’t it? Maybe a bit too optimistic, because, as Sir Marmot pointed out, sometimes the willingness to cooperate doesn’t mean that the two partners can have the same goals. If you think about how alcohol consumption affects NCDs and how great it would be to partner with the alcohol production companies, you’ll easily realize how right Sir Marmot is. According to our speakers, the success of finding partners will depend on how many similarities we can find within them, and how we can learn from past mistakes.

Yes, we are still talking about non-communicable disease prevention, this is still not a relationship.advisor platform. However, the lesson seems to be pretty similar. Learn from the mistakes of the past, analyse yourself, understand your goals, do the same with your future partner. Find the similarities and build a better future together.

This Blog was written by the Young Gasteiner Cecilia Surjan

 

 

 

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