The overall health of young people seems to be declining, said YMCA Cameroon’s Dr. Sonia Chedom, and that is cause for concern.
“Young people are our future, and their health seems to be impacted at the moment, particularly when it comes to mental health”, said Dr. Chedom, who was in Geneva, Switzerland, in January in her role as the YMCA Youth Representative for the World Health Organization (WHO) Youth Council.
She travelled to Geneva for the inaugural WHO Youth Council meeting held 27-30 January. The Council’s goal was to discuss challenges and opportunities and determine key priorities moving forward.
Following the meetings, she visited the World YMCA headquarters, also in Geneva. It was her first trip to the city – and one she enjoyed, though it took some getting used to, she said.
As a qualified general practitioner, Dr. Chedom is passionate about improving the health system in Cameroon. What concerns her, she said, is that young people in general do not seem to be worried about their own health.
“Young people need to hear this from other young people”, she said. “They don’t want people talking at them, they need people talking with them”. During the sessions, Dr. Chedom participated in the workgroup focusing on mental health issues.
Dr. Chedom was appointed to the Youth Council in July 2022. As she learns more about the challenges facing young people worldwide, she said her motivation to be involved and help create youth-led solutions continues to grow. She added that she appreciates that WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed the importance of having young people involved.
The Youth Council expects to release a meeting report with key recommendations to guide the WHO Youth Council and upcoming meetings.
Click here to watch the opening session on 27 January and learn more about the Youth Council.
And click here to learn more about Community Wellbeing, the first Pillar of YMCA Vision 2030, and what it means for YMCAs.