According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that one in ten medical products in the developing world is falsified or substandard, ranging from cancer treatment to contraception. This has led to serious repercussions, ranging from a loss of public confidence in medical products to the deaths of patients. For example, the past five years have seen 7875 patients die within 48 hours of being admitted at the Sher-i- Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in India, which is thought to have been the result of spurious drugs supplied by the state government’s health department.
Hence, countries should work towards stemming the proliferation of substandard and falsified medical products. Delegates should look into the development of more effective surveillance systems, and the restoration of public confidence in medical products. It is their onus to ensure that medicine serves its original purpose – to heal, and not to harm.
The prevalence of pesticide use is attributed to their valuable role in protecting crops from pests and increasing agricultural output. Despite their benefits, pesticides have been found to pose a severe threat to public health – affecting farmers and consumers alike. Paraquat, for example, is a highly toxic weedkiller that remains widely used in developing countries due to its low costs.
Regulation of the pesticide industry has been fraught with difficulties, due to the lobbying power that the pesticide and agricultural industries wield. Member states, as such, grapple with the maintenance of neutrality of public health agencies, and the lack of regulatory oversight of the importation or development of pesticides.
Delegates of the WHO will need to consider the improvement of mechanisms regulating the development and use of pesticides in agricultural production, and are encouraged to explore the adoption of safer alternatives. The future of public health lies in your hands.
To be updated soon!