NEW YORK: A Malaysian who founded an organisation with a mission to build healthcare facilities serving underprivileged communities, was among 17 young people named as advocates of change for the United Nations.
Representing the Malaysian-registered Hospital Beyond Boundaries (HBB), government medical officer Dr Mohd Lutfi Fadil Lokman, 28, was selected as a United Nation Young Leader from a list of 18,000 nominations from 186 countries around the world.
HBB, a non governmental organisation Dr Lutfi co-founded and heads as its chief executive officer, was chosen to advocate Sustainable Development Goals for 2016-2017 in the ongoing 71st United Nations General Assembly here.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmed Alhendawi, officially handed the 17 UN Young Leaders their appointments in the inaugural reception here on Monday.
This was in recognition of their leadership and contribution to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030 – adopted by world leaders in the UN General Assembly last year.
According to the UN, HBB was chosen to promote efforts to improve living standards in target communities with the Sustainable Development Goals concept as the core thrust of their activities that promote prosperity while protecting the planet.
In his message on his UN profile, Dr Lutfi said setting up HBB was a dream he envisioned after an accident which left him hospitalised.
The organisation he founded in 2012 with fellow student Dr Wan Abdul Hannan Wan Ibadullah, back when they were at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, is now committed to accessible healthcare through community-run clinics in Cambodia and Malaysia.
“I am most proud of our clinic in Cambodia because we focus specifically on maternal and child health,” he said.
Currently a group of 13 young professionals from diverse fields make up the core team of volunteers for HBB. The healthcare facilities are uniquely run as social enterprises by the local youth population, trained and then employed as community health workers alongside doctors, nurses and health professionals.
Since its establishment, HBB has trained and served more than 3,000 people.
“We believe that empowerment of the community, rather than charity, is the key to sustainability. We work with local NGOs, the Ministry of Health and local leaders to ensure that we make as much impact as possible.”
Other than working directly with Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being), the clinic and hospital look at healthcare that lies beyond the hospital boundaries.
“When someone is started on antibiotics for pneumonia, we also start looking for holes on his house roof. We hope that by curing diseases, we can also help alleviate poverty,” Dr Lutfi added.-NST Online