OUIK > Events > Collaborative research > Kanazawa > SDGs Café #19: How are partnerships developing in Kanazawa?


SDGs Café #19: How are partnerships developing in Kanazawa?

At present, over 180 companies, organisations and individuals are registered as partners of IMAGINE KANAZAWA 2030, and are studying each other’s activities through workshops and exchange meetings.

The theme of the 19th SDGs Café was “how are partnerships developing in Kanazawa?”. The participants revisited the meaning of partnerships, going beyond their own framework, from the perspective of “collective impact”, which refers to joint initiatives with shared visions.


Examining the change in people’s awareness toward the ideal partnerships realised in 2030

Our guest this time was Hiroki Uda, a pharmacist working for Kanazawa City Hospital and the president of Yaku-yaku Renkei SDGs Kanazawa (pharmacist partnership). He became interested in the SDGs when he attended a lecture by OUIK office manager Ms. Nagai, and he started to explore partnerships aimed at solving the problem of unused medicine.

Yaku-yaku Renkei SDGs KANAZAWA is intended for all people involved in medicine who are working to secure health and welfare, including pharmacists working for pharmacies and hospitals. In the field of medication, a cross-sector partnership such as this is truly groundbreaking.

The preamble of their bylaw declares that “all the activities aim to solve social problems in order to attain SDGs”. At present, the two projects of “saving children from COVID19” and “eliminating unused medicine” are underway. Unused medicine refers to medicine that is left unused in homes. It is estimated that 10 billion ~ 874.4 billion yen worth of medicine is left unused annually. Most of the cost for such unused medicine is borne by social insurance expenses (taxation); therefore, this is a serious problem for the whole country. We are now developing an app in collaboration with Code for Kanazawa to solve this problem.

How has people’s awareness of the SDGs changed? First, I would like to talk about the change in my awareness. I did not know anything about the SDGs one year ago. I realised the SDGs are issues of relevance to me when I attended a lecture by the OUIK office manager Ms. Nagai in the Sightseeing Course of Kanazawa Volunteer College. A period of uncertainty began for me, and I was asking myself what I could do toward the SDGs in my life and work.

Then, I listened to Mr. Hiroishi’s keynote speech titled “Linking SDGs to local innovation” at the Hokuriku SDGs Future City Forum (click here for the report) held online in January 2021. I recognized that I could create business and jobs by applying the SDGs concept to local innovation, and started to think with excitement about trying it. Two months later, I organised an online workshop, inviting my friends. 11 participants agreed with my proposal and became facilitators of the initiative. In this way, I recognised the SDGs as my own issues and changed my awareness, and then I started to take action.


Partnerships can resolve not only pharmaceutical problems but also regional challenges

Next, Takuji Hiroishi, President of Empublic and an advisor to the Kanazawa SDGs, gave a speech on partnerships from a professional point of view:

In talks about partnerships, we often hear the concept of health promotion by local public health nurses (a way of seeking possibilities to improve people’s health through management, advocated by WHO). The idea that medical professionals such as pharmacists and doctors should care for local people (patients as clients) is called “community as a client”. However, this concept has already been recognised as ineffective for health promotion through past experiences. Thus, the new concept “community as a partner” appeared. Although it shares the same purpose of making communities healthy, this concept aims to increase the number of healthy people as partners. When this concept is applied as a solution to regional problems, all the processes such as information collection, assessment and planning are implemented through collaboration between local people and professionals, instead of a one-way approach by professionals.

He also referred to the problem of unused medicine, which Mr. Uda’s partnership initiative focuses on. When the British Royal Pharmacist Association examined the reasons why patients did not take medicine as directed, they found that patients had not been complying with directions in the first place. The patients lied to their doctors that they were taking medicine. The doctors and patients did not have sufficient communication. As a solution to this problem, they adopted the idea of concordance, which means to find appropriate treatment methods through partnerships and discussions on an equal footing. In other words, professionals should respect and listen to patients’ opinions including objections; i.e. professionals should accept patients’ right to not take medicine.

This kind of joint decision making regarding medicine can be applied to approaches in regional revitalisation and the SDGs. Bilateral, continuous dialogue between professionals and local people will produce harmony and mutual understanding, thus leading to effective, viable decisions and a better life for the community.


The will of each individual advances partnerships

In the latter period of the meeting, Mr. Uda, Mr. Hiroishi, OUIK office manager Ms. Nagai and the audience of the meeting held a discussion to deepen their understanding of partnerships.

Mr. Uda introduced his experience, saying “patients became motivated when their right to not take medicine or not undergo treatment for their disease is accepted, i.e. when they were sympathised with”. Mr. Hiroishi said, “medical professionals do not know as much about patients as they think. The same thing can be said for businesses”. He proposed that in order to improve sustainability, business people should start by realising that perhaps they do not know their clients at all. In response, Ms. Nagai talked about her experience when giving a speech about the SDGs at companies, saying “they sympathised with my opinion if I performed thorough research in advance and talked from their point of view”.

The Kanazawa SDGs will create partnerships with various companies and organisations. Lastly, Ms. Nagai asked Mr. Hiroishi for advice regarding an effective way to advance partnerships. He advised her to continue to create places for exchange, such as the SDGs Café, in order to facilitate learning through teaching other people and thereby revisiting our own understandings.

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