WHO: World Health Organization

Topic A: Access to Mental Health in Areas of Conflict

Mental health during times of conflict has been a vital issue that is only recently being addressed at the United Nations. Violent conflicts across the world have a detrimental effect on mental health, whether that be as a direct or an indirect result of the violence. Common mental and psychosocial disorders in areas of conflict include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, alcoholism and drug abuse, and anxiety. Currently, WHO is building core emergency operational capacity at the country level to achieve new improvements in how it responds to public health emergencies, and the delegates of this committee will have to decide how mental health fits into this operational capacity. The challenge to increasing access to health in conflict areas is that the conflict increases the need for health services while impeding the safety of workers. Furthermore, mental health access comes with an increased challenge of breaking down social stigmas surrounding mental health. Only when these challenges are addressed will a concrete and long lasting solution towards combatting mental health be achieved.

Topic B: Promoting the Use of Genomics for Global Health

Genomics is a scientific field of study aimed at sequencing and manipulating DNA for research and, potentially, healthcare. This ongoing scientific and medicinal revolution has the potential to greatly improve global health. Specifically, it has the ability to make health risks more easily determined, to more precisely diagnose diseases, and to make treatments more specific to individuals. Despite the promising benefits of genomics, however, many legal, social, and moral dilemmas exist that make the use of genomics controversial. This topic allows delegates to determine how to best maximize the benefits of this scientific field, while also addressing the controversial issues associated with it. Furthermore, WHO must also determine ways to make these practices both safe and fair. Currently, only developed countries are reaping benefits from this emerging field, despite that fact many of the world’s developing countries are in desperate need of scientific advances in healthcare.

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