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Doctors to diplomats at UN Small Arms Meeting: Prevention works

June 3, 2015
Dr. Omolade Oladejo addresses delegates at the UN PoA MGE2

Dr. Omolade Oladejo addresses delegates at the UN PoA MGE2

IPPNW doctors are playing a key role in integrating public health information into the dialogue of the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms Second Meeting of Governmental Experts underway in New York this week.

“You cannot have development without health, and you cannot have health in the midst of armed violence,” said Dr. Omolade Oladejo of the Society of Nigerian Doctors for the Welfare of Mankind during the NGO presentations to delegates. Dr. Oladejo, who is the Secretary General of IPPNW/Nigeria, was one of five civil society speakers representing the International Action Network on Small Arms during the NGO speaking session.

She addressed the demand side of armed violence, and explained that public health methods can be employed to prevent it. She recommended ways the health community and policy makers can work together. These include ensuring health representation on National Commissions on Small Arms, support for hospital-based data collected on armed violence, and improving infrastructures to care for survivors of gun violence.

IPPNW also recommended that the PoA reporting template should include a question about how states are investing in prevention programs within their countries. Under the PoA, states are requested to submit reports on their work under the PoA every two years.

Earlier in the day Dr. Cathey Falvo of Physicians for Social Responsibility/New York participated in a standing room-only panel “New Technologies and Human Security: Diverse Perspectives on solving SALW challenges ” sponsored by IANSA and the Permanent Mission of Germany to the U.N. The event was moderated by Ivor Fung of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs. Mr. Tarmo Dix from Germany’s introductory remarks included the importance of the human consequences of armed violence.

Dr. Cathey Falvo speaks on health approaches to human security.

Dr. Cathey Falvo speaks on health approaches to human security.

Dr. Falvo’s talk “The Scientific Method to Prevent Armed Violence” touched on a number of health topics including the medical costs of gun violence with examples from IPPNW’s One Bullet Stories, as well as solutions to address it through “breaking the chain at the weakest links” and designing effective health interventions.

She also highlighted IPPNW research projects in Liberia, and the Austria/Zambia collaboration to improve health outcomes for survivors of violence in Lusaka, Zambia. She concluded with recommendations to states on how we can better include public health in policy processes.

The IPPNW delegation joined with other IANSA colleagues in wearing orange in solidarity with the US campaign to remember the victims of gun violence.

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