Position Papers are due on February 5th to be considered for the Best Position Paper Award, and February 12th to be considered for any committee award. Submit them to WHO@bmun.org.
World Health Organization (WHO)
Head Chair | Stacey Dojiri
Vice-Chairs | Himaja Jangle, Sabina Nong, Dhruv Mandal
Topic 1 | Accelerating Global Disease Eradication
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Disease elimination describes the stop of transmission of a disease in one geographic region, while eradication describes the stop of transmission of a disease globally. To date, only one disease has been successfully eradicated – smallpox, declared so in 1980. Almost forty years have passed, and the world has made great strides in science, medicine, and technology; however, smallpox still stands alone on the short list of success stories. The international community is actively working on eradication campaigns for diseases like polio, Guinea worm disease, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, and yaws. Political, financial, social, medical, and technological issues are all involved in a complex network of challenges that is unique to each of these disease eradication efforts. Specific factors like perceived burden, which describes how burdensome the disease seems to society, can affect how motivated healthcare workers and communities are in their eradication efforts. Perceived burden can also strongly influence funding; for example, a well-known disease like polio will often receive more international attention and funding than a neglected tropical disease like yaws receives.
Topic 2 | Rehabilitation of Health Structures in Conflict-Affected Zones
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Armed conflict from territorial, political, religious, or other disputes has affected regions across the globe. These upheavals can cause great political, social, and economic turmoil through loss of life, lack of food, internal displacement, forced migration, and destruction of infrastructure – more specifically, health infrastructure. Health infrastructure involves the distribution of public health services through a system that relies on healthcare workers and facilities. During times of conflict, this pipeline of services becomes damaged because healthcare workers flee the area, hospitals face structural damage, and medical resources run low. After times of conflict, health structures remain damaged for similar reasons. Additionally, the low number of healthcare workers who remain may have a difficult time training a fleet of new students; this often leads to inadequate medical education that can affect health care for a long period. Poorly planned emergency response, inefficient use of funds, and mistakes from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) during active conflict can also exacerbate the rebuilding process for years or decades to come.