EuWHO youth initiative for global health equity

Movement calls for education, empowerment and equity

Yekatit health centre staff

4 APRIL 2013 – A new youth initiative is working to catalyze global efforts on integrating the right to education, and increased empowerment and equity as keys to improving the health of all—especially that of girls and women.

EuWHO: WHO Simulation Youth Initiative is a movement that brings young people together to tackle crucial global health issues in the manner of a WHO World Health Assembly. Each delegate represents a UN member state and discusses their position in regional and plenary sessions. Consensus is typically challenging and delegates are encouraged to engage in open debate, in an attempt to produce a final resolution over three days. The initiative aims for a health and human rights dialogue to bridge the gap between nations and facilitate meaningful discussion between the next generations of health professionals.

EuWHO's 2012 Assembly from 26 to 28 October 2012 gathered two hundred students and young professionals, from 50 countries and multiple disciplines, in London, UK. At that meeting, the EuWHO passed a resolution highlighting the right to universal education, empowerment and equity

(The EuWHO Assembly) “strongly believes that education, empowerment and equity are keys to improving reproductive health in all populations and urge education as a fundamental human right that is needed to resolve unmet reproductive health and social issues (such as domestic violence) globally; the empowerment of girls and women can lead to gender equity and financial independence.”

The resolution touched on five key elements related to improving health: education; aging population; gender equity; family planning; funding; and health system strengthening.

PMNCH at EuWHO Assembly

This initiative is hoped to act as a catalyst to improve global health partnerships between young people as a representative voice for the aspirations of the next generation to advance equity in global health. PMNCH collaborates with this Assembly and medical students' associations as part of our youth engagement strategy.

PMNCH took part in EuWHO 2012 during its introductory panel discussion. Panelists included

  • Shyama Kuruvilla, PMNCH, who spoke on global partnerships to address the unmet need in women's and children's health;
  • Maria Eitel, Nike Foundation, who spoke on The Girl Effect;
  • Sanjay Bhagani, Royal Free Hospital, who spoke on HIV co-infection: a tale of two viruses;
  • and Vinay Nair, Acumen Fund, who spoke on innovation in women's health.

Film on EuWHO - on Lancet Series

The Lancet's 2012 Series on family planning reviewed the evidence for the effects of population and family planning on people's wellbeing and the environment.

EuWHO's 2012 Assembly aimed to build on this foundation. The two hundred students and young professionals who attended worked to find consensus on a way forward.

The initiative has been captured in a short film, which can be viewed on The Lancet’s website, along with a summary of the EuWHO 2012 resolution on addressing the unmet need in population and reproductive health.