For nearly seven decades the WHO has been working to solve the world’s health crises. As the preeminent body within the United Nations system on health issues, the WHO’s scope and influence are second to none. With this power the WHO seeks to eradicate disease and build sustainable, healthy environments for all who share this planet. This committee will be focused on passing legislature that embodies the definition of health, as defined by WHO: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (World Health Organization Constitution)
Topic 1: Zika
In 2015, a dramatic increase in the incidence of microcephaly in Brazil caused public health officials to scramble to find an explanation. The concurrent Zika epidemic was suspected as a possible cause. A few weeks later, Zika was confirmed as the cause of the increase in microcephaly. 1 Not long after that, Zika began appearing throughout Latin America, and, in December 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Since then, Zika has become a household name, instilling the fear of debilitating neurological diseases into the lives of many throughout Latin America and the world. As of right now, research on the Zika virus and its effects are still ongoing. No one can know for sure whether Zika will return to its previous obscurity or explode onto the world stage as a pandemic.
Topic 2: Ambient Air Pollution
The WHO estimates 23% of all global deaths are linked to environmental risks such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change and ultraviolent radiation. This committee will focus on solving one facet of this challenging problem: ambient air pollution. There is an estimated 7 million deaths— 1/8 the total global deaths— due to air pollution exposure, 3.7 million of these are due to ambient (outdoor) pollution. 2 Ambient pollution is caused by pollutants like particulate matter (PM), ozone (O 3 ), nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ), and sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ), which affect the outdoor air quality. We will examine the sources of ambient pollution, its distribution across the globe, its health effects, and current and future solutions to this public health problem.