Greetings From New York !!
This week is hectic as it is packed with action and adventure as we New Yorkers play host to world leaders, activists, global citizens who convene here for the 69th UN Gen Assembly and related events. It gives me great pride to pen my musings as a UNA USA blogger fellow at the Social Summit and today is Day 1.
The 2 day summit which has been held for the past 5 years can be called a global grassroots movement in bringing people from diverse backgrounds together : ie the movers and the shakers and activists to engage and share in what they can do together to make our world a fair and just one.
The Theme for this years event is 2030 Now and brings out an important question to all of us who live on this planet "What type of World do I want to live by the year 2030?"
The summit highlighted the principles of the United Nations in the context of the Millennium Development Goals and as was evident in the list of luminaries who shared their wisdom experiences and stories and frustration with their live audience in NYC and those who were following the event on social media.
As a woman , a physician and a mother I experienced mixed emotions when the speakers discussed issues of gender empowerment , investing in women , promoting education for girls and making gender discrimination an ugly page in history books by 2030. My views resonated with the remarks made by Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Victoria Shaba and Liya Kebede who shared their experiences and their anguish over the continued lack of access and skilled birth attendants for pregnant women. I am a firm believer that there is no cure or excuse for the high maternal mortality rates in so many low and mid income countries but 98% of maternal mortality is preventable. We need to act now so that women do not have to die while giving birth and life to their children.
Gender inequality, poverty harmful cultural practices, climate change , gender base violence are contributors to these high rates of maternal mortality. It is truly unfortunate that in this day and age of unprecedented global connectivity, there is no a single country in the world at present where there is gender equality and women enjoy the same rights and privileges as men .As some of speakers discussed there is no real development without gender equality principles and practice being ingrained in local , national , international , socio- cultural and economic policies.
One of the public health triumphs which was shared by Drs Hopkins and Siddall is the eradication of the guinea worm which has been a grave challenge in many low income countries. Just as the last guinea worm is being exhibited in the American Museum of Natural History , I hope gender inequality becomes a page in history books.
Alicia Keys in her powerful remarks and donation inspired and galvanized all of us to contribute in any way we can to the #We Are Here campaign to make the playing field equal for men and women and boys and girls.
So as an activist who has been working to improve women' s health as a health care professional , my message is Women's health and human rights are linked , the time is now and we need to work ( ie both men and women) to make a world which is fair and just to more than half of the inhabitants.
Please follow the action on twitter #2030NOW, #WeAre Here, you can post on face book , twitter , instagram , tell your friens, I will be tweeting all day tomorrow as I did today and will be blogging as well.
In Health and Human Rights
your cyber UNA USA blogger fellow