The World Health Organization passed three resolutions on the topic of Women’s Health on Saturday. The first resolution focused on having mobile midwifes for women in need while the other two focused on the NGO Doctors Without Borders.
Resolution 1.A was sponsored by Saudi Arabia and was a response to the global need for women’s health assistance. Resolution 1.B and 1.C focused on Doctors Without Borders and setting up shelters for women. . During the debate, all three resolutions were discussed simultaneously, and ultimately all resolutions passed through the committee.
Women’s health and its importance have become major topics for debate. Every day in 2010 approximately 800 women died due to pregnancy and childbirth. Out of the 800, 440 deaths occurred in Africa and 230 in Southern Asia.
Midwifes became a reoccurring feature of this topic. A midwife specializes in giving care to pregnant women and lowering pregnancy complications. These resolutions proposed to provide all women in need with a midwife or other means of assistance.
At the beginning of the debate, there was much clarification that the topic was women’s health, not rights. Some delegates gave their position on women’s rights but were quickly corrected. The representative of Belarus was quick to correct anyone who made that mistake.
While countries were giving their position papers, many touched on the related issues of education, women’s shelters, abuse and the dangers of childbirth. Some delegates did mention that they did not want to infringe on the local cultures.
At one point, Italy brought up the idea of changing laws about female employment. They were in support of women being able to get jobs in order to receive health care. This idea was quickly shot down by the Middle Eastern and African countries.
Representatives were worried with the lack of proper health care in less developed countries, such as Ecuador. Many felt that this topic was extremely important and seemed eager to pass a resolution.
However, many countries of North Africa were opposed to discussing this topic at length. Surprisingly, Morocco put forward a resolution. “We feel that this resolution will help women’s health, especially in childbirth; however it won’t infringe upon the local customs” reported Parker Jackson, the WHO delegate from Morocco.
|Parker Jackson, delegate from Morocco, raises his placard to speak on women's health.|
The resolution encompassed many issues about women’s health and included provisions for creating women’s shelters. In addition, Doctors Without Borders was mentioned in the resolution, along with programs for mobile midwifes. The delegate from Morocco was very eager to push his resolution, 1.C forward, although most delegates wanted to discuss the issue at hand longer before voting. It did not take long before amendments were made to the resolutions and shortly after, they were passed.