Lessons from AIDS to emerging epidemic held by the UNAIDS

The meeting began by the moderator’s opening remark on questioning the current HIV progress, a great success or a failure. Dr. Ren Minghui replied by acknowledging the advanced treatment facilities and policy framework gave rise to the elimination of maternal AIDS transmission in 4 countries. He was deliberately optimistic about the up-to-now achievements, yet perseverance work in ending AIDS was essential. Apart from that, Prof. Marie added with recognizing both of the contextual and biological vulnerability that accounted the stagnant progress in HIV incidence, among key groups, had limited access to package intervention.

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Side-event: Addressing global health emergencies: lessons from AIDS to Ebola, Zika & other emerging epidemics; held at UNHQ, New York, on June 9, 2016.

Regarding the need of vaccine on every epidemic situation, Dr. Berkley admitted the existing intellectual challenge was an inadequate monetary incentive for the massive vaccine manufacture. He stated there were effective vaccine trials available for various epidemic disease, but its application depended on the severity, urgency, and affordability of the affected region. In addition, Mr. Cone also underscored the limited access to clinics lowered one’s incentive on having diagnosis, receiving treatment, where the causes could be mandatory destroy on health-care facilities or geographically unreachable. The two emphasized the use of vaccine required the right priorities with good approaches.

On the other hand, Msgr. Vitillo addressed the role of church in combating epidemics, where churches could function as good as clinics. He reasserted the significance of education on changing one’s cultural attitude along with understanding and respect to culture, in order to wipe out the stigma and discrimination. Besides, Mr. Conteh expressed his concern that message delivery and community engagement were useful to stop epidemics. He ended by sharing the lesson from Ebola outbreak that the strategy of decentralization, where he believed, was valuable and should be applied during the epidemics.

Meeting: Side event on Addressing global health emergencies: Lessons from AIDS to emerging epidemic held by the UNAIDS

Date/Time/Location: Thursday, June 08, 2016; 18:30-20:30; Conference Room 3

Speakers: Mr. Luiz Loures, Deputy Executive Director, UNAIDS; Ms. Laurie Garrett, the Moderator Council on Foreign Relations (USA); Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI; Mr. Jason Cone, Executive Director for Doctors Without Borders; Prof. Marie Laga, Institute of Tropical Medicine; Mr. Alfred Palo Conteh, Minister of Internal Affairs (Sierra Leone); Dr. Ren Minghui, WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Disease; Ms.Alessandra Nilo, Executive Director for Gestos (Brazil); Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis Special Advisor on Health and HIV

Written By: WIT Representative, Kelvin HO

Edited By: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

Ebola Trend Report In West Africa

   Mr. Nabarro briefed the UN on Wednesday on Ebola and the work he has been doing. He mentioned that the number of people with Ebola in West Africa has declined in recent months even though the outbreak is not completely over. The good news is that transmission of the virus has stopped in Liberia and Sierra Leone and both countries are in a 90-day period of enhanced surveillance as they are determined to avoid a recurrence. The trend in Guinea is also positive and the country started its own countdown to having an interval of 42 days after the last case. Mr. Nabarro expressed his delight in the leadership that has been shown in all 3 of the affected countries and also at the way in which the international community continues to be engaged.

He also discussed his priorities going forward. First and foremost, Mr. Nabarro wants to ensure that survivors are able to maintain good hygiene, practice safe sex, receive psychological and medical support, and in some cases economic support as well. He also wants countries to have the capacity to protect, detect, and to respond in place to any possible resurgence. Finally, Mr. Nabarro wants to honor those affected by outbreak by making sure that such deadly diseases are dealt with in a better manner in the future.

For the WHO, Mr. Nabarro also had three recommendations that have been accepted by the WHO’s director-general. They included the WHO being neutral and free of political pressures, instituting a powerful and integrated program for outbreaks and emergencies, and independent oversight of the organization.

Meeting: Press briefing by the Spokesperson [Guest: Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Ebola]

Speaker: Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Ebola

Written By: WIT Representative Tania Makker

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

World Information Transfer’s 23rd International Conference: Our Children’s World

Ecology E 2012Dr. Durbak began the conference by reiterating that healthy people need a healthy environment. Accurate information regarding health and the environment is necessary to allow policymakers to make well-informed decisions. Governments must make use of the precautionary principle, which is based on the idea that we must “do no harm.” Common sense must be used in decision-making when scientific evidence is not available, and children must be educated to understand this idea.

Sustainable development goals, explained Mr. Seth, are not just different bullet points on a list. Instead, they exist as a map of interconnections and progress in one is dependent on progress in the others. In the future, development must not be addressed with more and more new policy frameworks, but rather with real implementation.

Dr. Shuman focused on the effect of the West African Ebola outbreak on children. Children are typically infected at lower rates because they are not caregivers, but once infected their mortality rates are very high. Over 3,700 children have been orphaned because of the current outbreak. These children are stigmatized and shunned because of the fear surrounding Ebola.

Air pollution, Dr. Thurston said, can be more dangerous for children than for adults. Taking action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will help the global environment as well as local health. In developing countries, coal burning and indoor biomass burning are serious health threats.

Dr. Ratzan discussed education’s role in increasing health literacy and advocated the utilization of mobile device technology to ensure good, valid health and environmental information is always only an arm’s length away.

Mr. Doyle highlighted the ability of social media to be harnessed as a vehicle to provide information to the public at the click of a button, helping us build a better future.

Mr. Gupta closed by urging young people to work together to create the world we need. This is a generation that is uniquely fitted to deal with current global crises. As essentially borderless people due to modern technology, the youth must ensure that cross-boundary connections are of humanitarian value. How we choose to associate with our interconnectedness will impact on way issues are dealt with.

Meeting: World Information Transfer 23rd International Conference: Our Children’s World
Location/Date: 1 December 2014, Conference Room 1, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Dr. Christine K. Durbak, Conference Chair and Founder, World Information Transfer, Inc.; H.E. Yuriy Sergeyev, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations; Mr. Nikhil Seth, Director for Sustainable Development, DESA, United Nations; Dr. Scott Ratzan, MD, Adj. Prof., Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health; Dr. Emily K. Shuman, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan; Mr. Alex Konanykhyn, President, KMGi; Mr. Wayne Doyle, Director, Liberatrix Media Consulting, Inc.; Ms. Gianna Simone, Activist and Actress; Apurv Gupta, Youth Representative.
Written by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Briefing by the United Nations System Senior Coordinator of Ebola Virus Disease

imagesDr. Nabarro stated that the current response to Ebola is the most extraordinary mobilization around a health issue he has ever seen. The current breakout is an issue that is deeply affecting society, economies, governments, and many aspects of global affairs—way beyond what ministries of health and health professionals are personally responsible for. People across many disciplines must therefore work together.

Although there have been “some signs of positive progress,” said Dr. Nabarro, “they are small signs.” In parts of West Africa, where communities are fully involved in the response and have proper resources, there are signs of a slowing of the outbreak. However, there are hotspot areas in which transmission is fierce. The response must learn to be flexible, bending to address the needs in areas where new hotspots emerge.

Essential services in affected countries are being undermined—access to health service for regular, typical accidents and health problems is limited; central services for poverty eradication have faltered; agriculture is being disturbed; access to education has suffered; and other functions of government are not working.

However, the World Bank and African Development Bank have given money directly to the governments of affected countries, ensuring that the capital exists to get health workers and responders the resources they need; communications capacities in affected countries are being increased; NGOs and UNICEF are involved in responding to the increasing number of orphans created by Ebola; UNMEER works to ensure community care facilities are created in areas touched by new outbreaks; and vaccines and experimental drugs have been in testing and production.

            A representative of Sierra Leone reminded listeners that we must also begin thinking about comprehensive post-Ebola recovery—we must invest in recovery so that affected countries can get back on track and working on development once Ebola is beaten.

Meeting: Briefing by the United Nations System Senior Coordinator for Ebola Virus Disease
Time: 12 November 2014
Location: Economic and Social Council Chamber, UN HQ, New York
Speakers: Dr. David Nabarro, UN Special Envoy for Ebola
Written by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Edited by WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

Conclusion of Second Committee’s General Debate

image18_866The Second Committee continued and concluded the general debate. The representative of Bulgaria focused on the lack of participation of young people in the decision-making process. Bulgaria called for an inclusive post-2015 development agenda based on human rights. Next the representative of Fiji stated that a robust implementation of the post 2015 development agenda would only be as meaningful for SIDS, if a cohesive financing development structure focusing on the special needs of SIDS is implemented.

The representative of Jordan stated that eradication of poverty should be the core of the post-2015 development agenda. The representative of Liberia stated that the Ebola pandemic in the Mano River Union Basin have tested the fragility of their post conflict economies and disrupted their agriculture and other revenue generation activities.

Next the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) highlighted that the ‘State of Food Insecurity’ (SOFI) report showed that approximately 805 million people were estimated to be chronically undernourished in 2012–14, down by 100 million over the decade: demonstrating that the hunger target of the Millennium Development Goal is within reach. FAO also stressed on the need to invest in adequate social protection mechanisms, including nutrition-sensitive safety net programmes, to promote sustainable and inclusive development.

Finally the representative of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies stressed the critical connection between reducing disaster risk and ensuring poverty eradication and humanitarian and development interventions.

Meeting Title: Second Committee: Sixth Meeting
Date: 9 October 2014
Location:  Conference room 2, United Nations HQ, New York.
Written by WIT Representative– Aslesha Kaur Dhillon