TOPIC: WOMEN

Michelle Bachelet, Outgoing President of Chile, Gets a WHO Post

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has agreed to chair the board of the World Health Organization’s Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health after she finishes her government role on March 11. The announcement came after a Jan. 10 meeting at the presidential palace in Santiago, during which the WHO leadership offered Bachelet the position. “This … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Advice to António Guterres: A Leaner UN Could Be a Better UN

GENEVA — Whether or not he is a fan of Chinese characters, António Guterres will have to discover the double meaning of a crisis as opportunity. United Nations corridors on First Avenue in New York are buzzing with anxiety about the possibility of impending cuts in funding from the United States, with hints from a … Read more

Universal Breast-Feeding Goals Blocked by Industry, UN Report Suggests

Although more countries have been passing laws to promote and to protect breast-feeding, the breast-milk substitutes industry continues to present a formidable challenge to achieving universal breast-feeding goals, a new report by United Nations agencies and a large advocacy group reveals. The laggards? Some of the richest regions in the world. Europe, for example, remains … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

UN Governance and the War on Drugs: Time for Change

“A drug-free world — we can do it!” was the tragically misguided slogan of the last major United Nations summit on drug control in 1998. UN member states will soon come together in the General Assembly, from April 19 to 21, for another try at getting drug control right. There is good cause to wonder … Read more

A New Campaign, #EveryHourMatters, Urges Instant Post-Rape Care

Maureen Phiri, a young girl from a poor family in Malawi, was only 11 years old when she was raped by the man who had hired her to do housework for him and his wife. Not only did Maureen continue to experience sexual abuse from the man she worked for, he left her with another long-term … Read more

World Health Assembly Backs Calls to Strengthen Clean Air SDGs

Negotiations are entering the last stages of formulating the Sustainable Development Goals. For over a year, governments, the United Nations system, nongovernment organizations and parliamentarians have been engaged in negotiations on the next set of development goals, called SDGs, to succeed the eight Millennium Development Goals, which expire at the end of this year. The … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN Environment Program, Influential but Lacking Power

BERLIN — The history of the United Nations Environment Program is illustrative in two respects: it reflects the changing importance of environmental issues within the UN system and it demonstrates that dedicated people in a UN organization can master the difficult task of implementing an ambitious mandate without sufficient political status, funds and personnel and … Read more

Ebola’s Treacherous Claw Reaches Women the Most

A pregnant woman lays by herself on a stretcher as people watch from a distance, afraid to touch her as she is suspected of having Ebola, in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The United Nations has been almost the sole international body to ring any alarm bells about the disproportionate effect of the Ebola disease outbreak on women and children, where it has found that up to 75 percent of reported cases are women and approximately 2.5 million children under 5 years old live in Ebola-affected areas. … Read more

The Creation and Trafficking of New Illegal Drugs Widens, a UN Report Finds

Confirming recent findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and other agencies around the world, the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime said in its annual report that new synthetic drugs, sometime compounded or combined with other substances, are becoming a dangerous, often lethal, menace globally. The 2014 … Read more

Is a Better UN System Possible? Global Experts Respond to an Independent Survey

An unusual survey of 3,400 people worldwide who know the United Nations has found strong support for some basic rethinking over the next decade on the organization’s work in development. Among the recommendations, over two-thirds of respondents suggested adding more nongovernmental representatives to governing bodies and better consolidating both organizational representation and programs in countries … Read more

For Women Over 50, the Top Killers Remain Heart Disease and Cancer

Blood pressure taken in Buenos Aires

Regardless of a country’s wealth, cardiovascular diseases and cancers are the most common cause of death for women over age 50, says a new report from the World Health Organization. In developing countries, these deaths occur at earlier ages than in the rich world. Moreover, tobacco-related deaths in certain Western countries have doubled for this … Read more

The Importance of Recruiting Midwives

Afghan midwives

About 350,000 women die while pregnant or giving birth every year, up to 2 million newborns die within the first 24 hours of life, and 2.6 million stillbirths occur annually says the United Nations Population Fund. A push to train more midwives worldwide and to increase their role in preventing the persistently high number of … Read more

For Many Latin American Women, Abuse Never Lets Up

Bolivian Women in Oruro

Latin American and Caribbean nations have pulled ahead of most other developing regions on numerous measures of economic growth and human progress in recent years. The region has one of the world’s lowest poverty levels; hunger has been reduced to under 5 percent of the regional population; primary school enrollment rivals that of rich nations; … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The True Strengths of the WHO

WHO cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone

BERLIN — The foundation of the World Health Organization in 1948 as one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations was a milestone in the history of global health efforts. It established not only the “highest attainable standard of health” for all people as a primary goal in the WHO constitution, but it also … Read more

UN and US Congress Act to Curtail Female Cutting Globally

Young girls in Sierra Leone about to be circumcised

Only four days before Christmas, when many minds were fixated on the year-end holidays, two important steps were taken almost unnoticed to combat female genital mutilation globally, raising hopes that millions of girls might be spared the excruciatingly painful and harmful yet persistent practice. In what Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called “historic” UN action, the General … Read more

Buckle Your Seat Belt, the UN Says, and Save Millions of Lives

Street scene in Dakar

  Not many people can honestly say they have heard of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, but at the United Nations road safety is one more topic on its long, long agenda. When the day was created in 2005, road injuries were a major public health concern. They still are today, … Read more

Epidemics and Fake Drugs Hurt Global Health Improvements

Polio vaccination team crosses the Ganges in India

A viral illness in Cambodia that killed scores of children this summer is a potent reminder that improving global health is not only a matter of measuring success against known diseases but also a constant battle to contain new ones and ensure that medications are safe. As cheaper generic drugs or reduced prices on rich-world … Read more

Scrutinizing Millennium Goal Claims as 2015 Looms

MDG water

In early March, a report from Unicef and the World Health Organization proclaimed proudly that the world had not only met but also surpassed the Millennium Development Goals target of reducing by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water. The agencies said that 89 percent of the global population — that’s … Read more

A Science Prize Complicates Life at Unesco and for the US

unesco science prize

Unesco is keeping a $3 million science prize after debating for months whether to drop the controversial award, which is meant to help fight diseases and was donated by the government of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, president of Equatorial Guinea. With 33 years in office, he is Africa’s longest-serving dictator. The vote to keep the … Read more

At the UN Nuclear Watchdog, It’s Not Just About Iran

IAEA and FAO

United Nations international atomic inspectors confirmed that Iran is moving apace on producing nuclear fuel at an underground site, but that is not what Kwaku Aning, an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency, wanted to talk about on a visit to New York. Nor did his colleague, Geoffrey Shaw, an Australian who represents the … Read more

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