The World Health Organization (WHO)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) came to life in 1948 with the mission to establish health as one of the fundamental rights of every human being. It is committed to achieving the highest attainable standard of health, as this condition can influence peace, security and equal development.
With offices in more than 150 countries and regions, the WHO’s work has a global outreach. In the last few years, it has attempted to solve the numerous crises that have seen communicable diseases trespass borders and undermine international order. Ebola and the zika virus are just a few examples of this trend.
At KULMUN 2019, delegates of the WHO will focus particularly on Africa and the Middle East, collaborating in order to solve health problems affecting the region.
Topic A: Tackling Maternal Health and Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa
Every 2 minutes, a woman dies in the world from complications derived from pregnancy or childbirth. 99% of them die in a developing country, and half of those in Sub-Saharan Africa. This only goes to show that most maternal deaths are preventable, and that there is an immense gap between rich and poor. Main causes of maternal death in developing countries are haemorrage, infections, obstructed labour, and unsafe abortions. All of these could be dealt with.
Better monitoring during pregnancy, proper antenatal care, safe water and sanitation, antibiotics, access to skilled professionals and quality care, especially at the crucial moment of labour, could save many lives. These women and girls desperately need adequate reproductive care and family planning services.
While the maternal mortality ratio has decreased globally by 44% since 1990, Sub-Saharan countries still have exorbitant figures (a regional average of 546 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births). We really need to focus on this area in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.1: reducing the global maternal mortality ratio to 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030. It is not an impossible goal: the current MMR in developed countries is only 12.
Topic B: Mental Health in the Conflict Zones of Africa and Middle East
Mental health disorders are an integral part of human existence. However, they have a much higher incidence and prevalence in regions affected by war and violence. Studies of the general population in these regions have shown a definite increase in mental disorders. Especially in conflict zones of Africa and the Middle East, many people have been exposed to traumatic events. They have endured physical and psychological violence during on-going and past military conflicts and wars. This puts them at high risk of developing mental disorders, most commonly Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. The WHO as the primary global mental health authority has the duty to reduce the burden of disease associated with mental health in these regions.
In this context, the WHO also needs to find specific solutions for the most vulnerable groups. Most importantly, the mental health of children needs to be addressed. The trauma can cause developmental issues that compromise peer relations, school performance and general life satisfaction. Another vulnerable group which are often neglected are military personnel and former fighters. Their health problems often remain unaddressed even though their successful re-integration into society is crucial for lasting peace. Children as well as former fighters can also be found in the third group: internally displaced people and refugees. Their migration to other countries makes regional mental health problems go global. The potential social, economic and health consequences of such large populations affected by mental illness are significant. Thus, it is of utmost importance to debate this issue at the WHO.
Eastern Mediterranean (6)
- Saudi Arabia
- People’s Republic of China
- Sri Lanka
- South Africa
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Sierra Leone
- Central African Republic*
- United Kingdom
- Russian Federation
- United States of America*
*this country is advised for experienced delegates