【GYLD Talk】Sumayyah Hosany: Overcome the pandemic and make a world a better place
On July 30, the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies hosted the 2021 annual forum of the Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD) in Beijing. Around 140 young representatives from various walks of life participated in the forum, exchanging views on topics such as sustainable development, public health, the joint fight against the pandemic, scientific innovation, and an open world economy. Participants also shared stories of their experiences in China and exchanged views on the strengths and responsibilities of young people regarding issues such as climate change and environmental protection.
Sumayyah Hosany, Doctor of Panhealth Medical Center, delivered a speech at the GYLD Talk during the forum. The following is an abridged transcript of the speech, which has been edited for clarity.
Today is a fabulous morning to be here in Beijing and talking about a topic that really touches us all public health. The past 2 years has been really trying for all of us, for our public health care system. I understood that during the past 2 years, our health care system has a lot of limitations. And I felt really powerless against COVID-19 at that time, not only as a doctor, but also when I saw the amount of lives that we have lost, no matter medical personals or family or friends. So today, I would like to take a minute to remember these people and that’s why we’re here today and that’s why as youth, we are going to be front liners in responding to the once in a century changes.
The powerless feeling I felt is a mutual feeling, but let me tell you that every single win is a feat and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. The pandemic has changed my life too. And I’ve never in my wildest dream thought that I will see a global health emergency. So, let me tell you a very short story. Wenzhou, the place that I have been calling home for the past 12 years was the second most affected city after Wuhan.
As a doctor when I started medical school, I remembered that our teachers would try to instill the sense of empathy in us, not only for the people we know, but also for the people we don’t know, and that’s what pushed me to be a volunteer during the pandemic. As an African youth, as a doctor, as a youth of the world, I wanted to contribute my part in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
I remember when winter was slowly healing after two and a half months, Mauritius got its first case of COVID-19. There was a fear mongering and there was like a mistrust and a lack of information all on the news and the posts I received, the messages I’ve received. At that time, I decided to start making small educational videos to help the Mauritian people to understand how China fought the virus here on the ground and the experiences I have gathered. Unknowingly I understood that the key role that social media could pay in reversing that fear mongering in spreading the correct information and most importantly to shoulder and encourage each other. As youth, at the end of the day, we remain each other’s best bet.
This story summarizes a lot of the points I want to make today. When we talk about public health crisis, the next question that pops up is how do we avoid it? And the answer will always remain investing in health and education. So today as young leaders, as young entrepreneurs, it is our duty to support innovative approaches to cure the increasing health inequality’s that is plaguing our nation. In addition, as healthcare leaders, we should encourage our youth to cultivate healthy lifestyles, promote physical activities and devise a healthy work life balance. So let’s be actors of change because right now 74% of the world senior population contribute to 71% of the total amount spent in healthcare. So, when we are going to be much older, let’s be these kinds of senior citizens that we want to see today.
That also reminds me of another story. It’s about how Nigeria escaped from the Ebola outbreak. The government and the healthcare system took it upon themselves, sent frequent messages to remind the people to wash their hands often and don’t go to funerals, if someone died in your family, don’t touch the dead bodies, and if ever any friend or family has shown symptoms of Ebola, that’s the number to call. So imagine if we had that kind of the free messages which is available at the doctor’s office, imagine how many chronic diseases we could help, how many people we could help by making their lifestyle better and even in the COVID-19 prevention.
So, the last extremely important point I want to make today is help. Always try to help wherever you are. I was in person in China when the pandemic happened, so I helped in person. When the pandemic happened in my own country, I could only do small videos. I did it. So, guys don’t limit yourself if you can financially, contribute. If you can provide manpower knowledge skills, volunteer. Just do what you can.
Throughout my speech today, I’ve used a lot of words like leaders and leadership, because I believe if you are sitting here today, you are a leader. People look up to you, so use this wisely and be a changemaker, the world needs to be united more than ever. Africa needs to be united more than ever. And that’s how we are going to overcome this pandemic and make a world a better place. Remember, we stand together. Thank you.
Note: The above text is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. It is posted as a reference for the discussion.