“There’s free food in Geneva???”

Hi everyone, Helen here…yesterday was the very first day of our adventure at WHA at the United Nations. It goes without saying that everyone was very excited to finally start our journey.  In fact we were so excited that we arrived 30 minutes earlier than proposed all very eager to get in the building and get started. This is extra impressive considering we have 11 girls and only three outlets and one bathroom (with dirty mirrors. yuck!)
Jenn Kotlewski and me (right) on our first day at the WHA

The morning started with the plenary meeting where we sat in the UN for the first time amongst delegates from around the world. We witnessed the election of the new president and selection of members for the general committee before we parted in different groups to listen to talks varying in topics. Our group participated in the talk in regards to maternal, infant and young child nutrition: global targets and national success stories. Not going to lie, the talk was kind of long and hard to keep up with after a large lunch. Oh! A story about the large lunch. We had thought we would starve because food might be expensive at the UN and we would have no time for dinner so we all went to the cafeteria and purchased lunch.  But to our wonderful surprise, there was FREE food provided at all these talks! Definitely no more buying lunch for the next few days.  Got to save when we can to last in this expensive city! 🙂

After the maternal talk I was very excited to hear Dr. Margaret Chan’s Director General’s Address. Of course the room was packed like sardines so we could not get seats. Luckily some of the faculties were able to grab seats for 3 people (thanks!) and I jumped at the chance so I can snap some pictures of the speaker. I thought the speech was very succinct and to the point and there were definitely some memorable quotes to which I will end this post with.
Dr. Margaret Chan giving the Director General’s Address

Saving a life with a vaccine is unquestionably far cheaper and more immediate than keeping someone with AIDS alive. It is also less demanding on health services.  In my view, human life cannot be valued, or devalued, or discounted in this way.  These medicines are a lifeline for a lifetime. The only ethically acceptable exit strategy is to stop new infections in the first place.”

Looking forward to a busy week!
El Fin. Helen

(posted on Helen’s behalf)