12 December 2019

Working with Communities to Advance Health Care

One year ago United Nations Academic Impact announced the inauguration of the UNAI SDG Hubs, UNAI member institutions selected as exemplars for their innovative scholarship and engagement related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) who serve as resources for best practices for the UNAI network, currently composed of over 1,400 universities and colleges in more than 130 countries.

On the anniversary of the program launch, we’re taking this opportunity to check in with some of the hub schools to highlight their scholarship and activities over the past twelve months and look ahead to future initiatives. The next school profiled in our anniversary series is New Giza University (Egypt), hub for SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being.   

Over the last year New Giza University (NGU) has worked on several levels to promote SDG 3. Through research and empowering its students to extend their medical services to those who are in need, NGU has had a positive impact on both students and the population the university serves. A lot of the work done at NGU for Goal 3 is focused on creating opportunities for students to engage in community service and work on research that ensures sustainability. From volunteering activities and leadership training to academic research, NGU students have worked to create awareness and empowerment.

The Health Sciences schools provide hands on experiences for students throughout their academic life. In addition to the training medical students receive, they have been exposed to the health care system through regular visits to medical institutions. NGU adopted an abandoned public hospital in a less privileged village and renovated it to provide medical services once again. In addition, during the past summer students attended internships at local non-governmental organizations working with patients in vulnerable communities, and students in the School of Dentistry offered dental checkups to children in orphanages.

In 2019 students were also active in a wide range of projects, participating in 16 medical convoys in underprivileged areas where they shadowed doctors and provided basic information on important health issues. The university also collaborated with the Ministry of Health of Egypt in a campaign for blood donation and with various civil society entities for awareness campaigns on breast cancer to promote early screening. Medical students also interviewed HIV/AIDS patients, and while protecting their identities, they shared their stories extensively on campus and social media to fight the negative misconceptions around HIV/AIDS.

Other initiatives undertaken by NGU and its students included a series of art activities to overcome the stress of medications to treat mental diseases, a first aid training for members of the community, a campus visit for autistic children and informative sessions led by those in the School of Pharmacy, on counterfeit medications available over-the-counter in many stores and the best way to avoid them. Students also performed patient-centered medication education at the National Diabetes Institute and the Children Cancer Hospital, two of the most prominent health care facilities in the country.

NGU has actively promoted significant research in which sustainability and resilience have been the highlight. Among the research topics, the most relevant ones are those related to innovative procedures and techniques in various medical fields as well as in dentistry. Results of this research have been published in several peer-reviewed or scholarly journals such as Archives of Virology: The Journal of the Virology Division of the International Union of Microbiological Societies, Frontiers in Genetics, Frontiers in Physiology, the Journal of Periodontal Research and the Journal of Tissue Engineering.

Moreover, NGU also participated in several events on health issues held in Egypt and abroad, including the First Regional Low Vision Conference and a joint international medical education workshop co-organized by NGU and academic partners in Africa, Europe and North America.

In April 2019, the School of Dentistry at NGU opened the first of its dental clinics. The state-of-the-art facility comprises 52 dental chairs and will allow undergraduates to provide supervised dental care of adults requiring restorative dentistry and/or oral surgery. In addition, the clinic will soon provide dental care to children.

NGU offers an extensive and modern educational experience in medical sciences with the focus of achieving Goal 3 at the community level.

To learn more about the UNAI SDG Hubs, including New Giza University, visit the United Nations Academic Impact SDG Hubs.