U.N. decides new theme: Global health issues

by Anna Roy
Assistant Features Editor

World health population is the focus of this year’s United Nations Day and is titled “Global Health and Interdependence.”

In honor of U.N. Day being commemorated on Oct. 24 by organizations around the world, debates are held on university campuses and city halls. including the University of La Verne.

The Associated Students Federation’s advocacy board, led by Vice President Kimberly Reed, will place flags from all over the world in Sneaky Park and Miller Hall beginning Monday and will remain for the entire week.

ASF wishes to recognize the diversity of all nations as well as the importance of the United Nations as a world organization.

“We wanted to recognize the United Nations, and unity with all countries in general, which also relates to what is going on now in the world,” ASF senator senior Melissa Galaviz said.

U.N. Day began in 1947 after the member-states voted on a United States sponsored resolution. Each year, a new theme is chosen.

This year’s theme looks at the international effort to change how people think and act when it comes to main public health problems, such as AIDS.

According to the U.N., infectious diseases is a global responsibility and problem.

Secretary-General for the United Nations, Kofi Annan, proposed a new global financing mechanism to fight disease.

In response, President Bush pledged $200 million dollars in funding, in addition to the portion of the U.S. budget for international assistance, which the U.N. estimates is less that one percent.

The main international health problems today are tuberculosis, malaria, AIDS and HIV.

These diseases are most prominent in developing countries in hampering social, political and economic development.

Many of these diseases are preventable and cost very little by western standards, to cure or prevent.

The rate of AIDS and HIV, has been slowed by the distribution of condoms which would cost about 14 U.S. dollars per person for a year’s supply.

AIDS and HIV have caused the death of 19 million people during the past two decades. Four million of these have been children. An additional 13 million children have been orphaned.

Malaria, another preventable disease which is spread by mosquitoes, and causes the deaths of millions of children as well.

According to the United Nations, malaria deaths could be reduced by 25 percent in Sub-saharan Africa if people slept under insecticide-covered bednets, which cost about four U.S. dollars.

Tubercolosis and Malaria are preventable diseases, yet millions of people in impoverished countries die yearly.

Many of these deaths are newborn babies, children under the age of 5 and young adults.

While the statistics are staggering, there are success stories- sometimes in third-world communities.

In Uganda, for example, AIDS was reduced when the government began a stringent plan providing health education, treating sexually transmitted diseases immediately and distributing and promoting condom use.

Prevention and education are vital to reducing the spread of AIDS.

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