The World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) came to life in 1948 with the mission to establish health as one of the fundamental rights of every human being. It is committed to achieving the highest attainable standard of health, as this condition can influence peace, security and equal development. With offices in more than 150 countries and regions, the WHO’s work has a global outreach. In the last few years, it has attempted to solve the numerous crises that have seen communicable diseases trespass borders and undermine international order. Ebola and the zika virus are just a few examples of this trend.

At KULMUN 2019, delegates of the WHO will focus particularly on Africa and the Middle East, collaborating in order to solve health problems affecting the region.

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Topic A: Tackling Maternal Health and Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa

Every 2 minutes, a woman dies in the world from complications derived from pregnancy or childbirth. 99% of them die in a developing country, and half of those in Sub-Saharan Africa. This only goes to show that most maternal deaths are preventable, and that there is an immense gap between rich and poor. Main causes of maternal death in developing countries are haemorrhage, infections, obstructed labour, and unsafe abortions. All of these could be dealt with. Better monitoring during pregnancy, proper antenatal care, safe water and sanitation, antibiotics, access to skilled professionals and quality care, especially at the crucial moment of labour, could save many lives. These women and girls desperately need adequate reproductive care and family planning services.

While the maternal mortality ratio has decreased globally by 44% since 1990, Sub-Saharan countries still have exorbitant figures (a regional average of 546 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births). We really need to focus on this area in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.1: reducing the global maternal mortality ratio to 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030. It is not an impossible goal: the current MMR in developed countries is only 12.

Topic B: Mental Health in the Conflict Zones of Africa and Middle East

Mental health disorders are an integral part of human existence. However, they have a much higher incidence and prevalence in regions affected by war and violence. Studies of the general population in these regions have shown a definite increase in mental disorders. Especially in conflict zones of Africa and the Middle East, many people have been exposed to traumatic events. They have endured physical and psychological violence during on-going and past military conflicts and wars. This puts them at high risk of developing mental disorders, most commonly Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. The WHO as the primary global mental health authority has the duty to reduce the burden of disease associated with mental health in these regions.

In this context, the WHO also needs to find specific solutions for the most vulnerable groups. Most importantly, the mental health of children needs to be addressed. The trauma can cause developmental issues that compromise peer relations, school performance and general life satisfaction. Another vulnerable group which are often neglected are military personnel and former fighters. Their health problems often remain unaddressed even though their successful re-integration into society is crucial for lasting peace. Children as well as former fighters can also be found in the third group: internally displaced people and refugees. Their migration to other countries makes regional mental health problems go global. The potential social, economic and health consequences of such large populations affected by mental illness are significant. Thus, it is of utmost importance to debate this issue at the WHO.

Country Matrix

Eastern Mediterranean (6)

  • Saudi Arabia
  • Lebanon
  • Afghanistan
  • Syria*
  • Iraq
  • Yemen

Asia-Pacific (6)

  • People’s Republic of China
  • India*
  • Australia
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Sri Lanka

Africa (9)

  • Rwanda*
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Democratic Republic Congo
  • Sierra Leone
  • Central African Republic*
  • Botswana
  • Chad
  • Somalia

Europe (6)

  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Russian Federation
  • Germany
  • Turkey
  • Norway

Americas (3)

  • United States of America*
  • Canada
  • Brazil

* recommended for experienced delegates
Red countries have already been allocated.


Ana Victoria Martín Corral
Ana Victoria Martín Corral
Ana is a medical student in her sixth and final year. She comes from the Spanish university town of Salamanca and has long been battling a terrible MUN addiction (symptoms include: excessive international travelling, severe sleep deprivation and tendency to speak of herself in the third person).

She will soon attempt to quit cold turkey to face the hardest exam of her life and choose a specialisation, but in the meantime she is busy as the President of her own home conference MUNUSAL, happening in April.  Before that, she is extremely happy to be returning to lovely Leuven for the third time, and looking forward to more nights sitting outside in the Oude Markt with a nice Belgian ale.

Chairing the World Health Organization is a dream come true, since it allows her to combine Medicine and MUNing. She hopes to make the committee accessible and fun for students of all disciplines, and to get those with a healthcare-related background interested in diplomacy and international politics.

In the limited free time left to her, she enjoys looking at flights to faraway places, putting on a costume when the occasion calls for it (hello theme parties!) and singing ABBA songs at the top of her lungs.

Hanne Pollet
Hanne Pollet
Hanne is a law student that was born and raised in Belgium but nowadays rather considers herself a global citizen. She studies law in Ghent and just came back from her Erasmus in Groningen (NL).

A young Hanne discovered MUN at KULMUN’s first edition and over the years she grew up to become a true devotee to every simulation that crosses her way. Being a firm believer that true understanding is the main part of a conflict solving process, she found her perfect tool in MUN and therefore made it her own personal mission to spread this addictive virus as much as possible.

Hanne is one of those people you’ll meet at 4am in a random bar somewhere on the globe, passionately discussing SC resolution 591 and without a wink being able to change the conversation to her supermarket deal expertise or the Flemish quizzing culture.