World Health Organisation
MWIA has had an affiliation with the WHO for 54 years. Dr Shelley Ross, Professor Shafika Nasser and Dr Clarissa Fabre have formed the core MWIA group attending the annual World Health Assembly in Geneva in recent years. In fact, Professor Nasser has been attending on our behalf for the last 23 years! We have regular meetings with WHO staff in key areas of mutual interest. Over the years, our delegation has been joined by doctors and medical students from many countries including Taiwan, India, Ecuador, Switzerland and Australia. In addition to the advocacy work that MWIA does with WHO, our connection with WHO provides medical students and doctors-in-training, who are the future leaders of global and public health, an invaluable opportunity to gain experience in the work undertaken by WHO.
Drs Clarissa Fabre and Shelley Ross signing a petition at the World Health Assembly
Key areas of mutual interest between MWIA and WHO
1. Violence against women and girls
The WHO, under the leadership of Dr Claudia Garcia-Moreno, has been developing various tools to reduce violence against women and girls. MWIA has helped to disseminate these tools which include a Clinical Handbook in many different languages, a Medical School Curriculum, an In-service Training Manual, and a Handbook for Managers.
MWIA’s Online Teaching Module on Violence, developed during Prof. Kyung Ah Park’s presidency (2013-2016) complements perfectly the teaching materials developed by the WHO. In 2014 at the 67th WHA, MWIA in collaboration with WONCA, the World Medical Association and the International Federation of Medical Students had a statement recorded in the proceedings on the global challenge of violence. In addition, in 2018, MWIA had input into the WHO document on Virginity Testing, a specific form of violence.
2. Safe Childbirth Checklist (SCC)
The aim of the Checklist is to reduce maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. Through our connection with WHO, MWIA’s Dr Rosemary Ogu (second from left, back row) and her team in Nigeria were involved in the initial pilot of the Checklist. MWIA were also acknowledged in the Implementation Guide. As the Checklist has now been translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian, with plans for Chinese and Arabic, MWIA can facilitate its use in many high income as well as low and middle income countries.
3. Adolescent Health
WHO has recently turned its attention to the health of adolescents – their education, health and jobs. We were delighted that one of our members, Dr Natalie Yap, was closely involved in the final stages of the WHO document, AA-HA (Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents) while completing a 3-month internship at the WHO.
4. Gender and Health
Following the development of MWIA’s Training Module on Gender Mainstreaming in Health, MWIA, at the invitation of Dr. Peju Olukoya was involved in writing WHO’s Gender Modules. Dr Shelley Ross accompanied Dr. Olukoya to conduct a workshop for the Ghana Ministry of Health using the gender modules. MWIA’s connection to Gender continues, with WHO staff in the Department of Gender, Equity and Human Rights as our main focal point.
5. Female General Mutilation
Working with WHO’s Dr. Heli Bathija, MWIA was one of the original signatories to the 2010 interagency document ‘Global strategy to stop health-care providers from performing FGM.’ More recently, working with Dr Christina Pallitto, several MWIA members peer reviewed the 2018 document ‘Care of girls and women living with FGM – a clinical handbook.’ Their names are listed in the acknowledgements.
MWIA has met with WHO’s Dr. James Kiarie to discuss the successful HPV Awareness Campaign begun in Canada and spreading throughout MWIA. We plan to work with WHO in encouraging HPV vaccination and HPV testing throughout the world.
7. MWIA shows its support of UN
Resolution 2286 condemning the attacks on hospitals and medical personnel and reminding the world of the 1949 Geneva Convention and additional protocols of 1977 and 2005.