“We are stronger together than we are apart” – UFH Bcom student reminds the world during UN global conference

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A selected group of youths hailing from 40 countries from around the globe were part of 500 diplomats who recently gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the Asian Youth International Model United Nations 13th Conference, among them was University of Fort Hare (UFH) Bachelor of Commerce student, Kuhle Sicatsha – representing South Africa.

Organized by the International Global Network (IGN), the conference brings together selected youth leaders worldwide on a platform to engage and share perspectives and opinions in solving world issues.

As part of the selection process for the 13th gathering, hopefuls were required to write an essay on ''What young people can do to make the world a better place,” Sicatsha’s essay was selected among the best, securing herself the opportunity to represent the country and UFH on this global platform.

The activities for the four-day and three-night gathering comprised an opening ceremony, a grand symposium, a diplomatic dinner, a meeting session, a closing night, and a cultural evening. They culminated with a tour of the city.

As part of their participation, the youth leaders were required to develop and present a case study on their country’s stance on a specific global issue. For this gathering, the topic was “Reducing the Number of Deaths from Non-Communicable Diseases”

Presenting the country’s position on this topic, the motivational speaker, poet, writer, activist, an upcoming influencer and an ambassador for the Youth for a Safer South Africa Foundation and Siyakunakekela Non-Profit Organization for girls, reaffirmed the nation’s dedication to working collaboratively with the World Health Organisation to combat the challenges associated with reducing deaths from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

“South Africa is committed to combating the challenges associated with NCD’ through strengthening the health system, raising public awareness, and fostering international cooperation. The country remains committed to improving health outcomes and achieving sustainable development.”

She also stated that NCDs should be high on the development agenda. “At Stake is more than the high gains made in developing countries, at stake are the lives of millions of people around the world, who will otherwise suffer needlessly and die prematurely from lack of concerted coordinated action.”

“We are not just fighting against NCDs, we are fighting for a world where health is a fundamental human right, not a privilege for the few. A world where every person has the opportunity to live their best life, free from the shackles of preventable diseases. So let us rise to this challenge, let us work together, and let us create a world that is healthier, happier, and more just for all. We are stronger together than we are apart.” Kuhle told the world.

To address the challenge of NCDs, Kuhle made the following recommendations on behalf of the Republic of South Africa:

  1. Identifying and monitoring risk factors to reduce them, and early detection of NCDs to improve outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and ultimately save lives.
  2. Reduction of salt content in the foods people eat to reduce high blood pressure.
  3. Provide proper health care and an environment conducive to a healthy lifestyle.
  4. To ensure that people living with NCDs receive integrated, people-centred health services to prevent and control NCDs. Furthermore, adopt the tobacco control that the World Health Organisation adopted in 2003 in all countries.

Speaking to UFHNews while connecting flights heading home this week Wednesday, Kuhle said that representing UFH, her country, and her culture was an incredible experience. "I am grateful to have been a part of such an esteemed council. In the hopes that one day I will be working alongside the world's greatest to continue the fight for a better future for all.

She counts meeting the High Commissioner of South Africa as one of the highlights of her experience. “He was so proud of me and commended me for representing the country.”

“As a young person, this was not only an eye opener but a realisation that we can never solve major health, economic, environmental and social challenges on our own but working collaboratively with other members of states enables us to combat these challenges together.”