Roundtable Discussion – Achieving the MDGs in Our Changing World
This roundtable included themes about facing our aging population, the economic crisis and obtaining funding, the using the media to prioritize the MDGs for the local community, as well as impacts of war. The latter I found the most resonating.
I was glad to hear from Dr. Sue Warham about the influence of war on global health. She mentioned that holistic healthcare is the promotion of peace and freedom from fear. Further, to accomplish this task one must address the consequences of war. The consequences of war that impact health include sexual crimes and violence, inadequate sanitation, displacement, overcrowding, weapons specifically nuclear weapons, and environmental effects to name a few. Turns out the world spends 1.46 trillion dollars on war efforts (42% is contributed by the USA alone). However, according to a Stockholm Convention in 2007 it would only cost 1.35 billion to achieve the MDGs. Now if we could only try to stop killing each other just a little.
The workshop went off without a hitch. The speakers included Tina Bow, the founder of SimplyHelp, Anne-Marie Scully, spoke about the history of women’s health in Australia, Rosemary Ukata, Center for Womens Studies in Nigeria and Debra Boudreaux, Secretary of Tzu Chi Foundation in the US.
My last workshop was refreshing. It was “Advancing Women’s Health, Empowerment and Resilience: Case Studies and Successful Tools for Achieving the MDGs”. It was held by the International Association for Human Values.
This group seeks to empower women by addressing both internal and external sources. Their program includes vocational training as well as breathing / meditation training. The breath allows for trauma relief, builds self-efficacy, leadership, etc. They apparently have programs all over the world and presented a study that showed statistically significant reductions in stress as well as increases in empowerment measures. As part of the workshop a member of the NGO lead the audience through a 20 min breathing exercise. It was helpful and much appreciated as an end to the day. I think this program is unique and was glad to see that more alternative sources of global health were being represented at the Conference. Something they mentioned that I plan to look up later is that their specific brand of breathing exercise if part of the exit program at the Los Angeles prison system.
One memorable point of the closing ceremony was the moment when Sir George Alleyne of Barbados vibrantly quoted Bob Marley. He stated there is “a natural mystic blowing through the air”. The attitude at the end of the conference was one of optimism, hard work and renewed enthusiasm.