Monday, 20 June 2011

All nations under one roof- the UN

UN Side-meeting room
We all know that New York is a melting pot, even if you've never been here, TV shows you that all sorts of all races, choices of lifestyle and gender live here.
But for a long time I've been in awe that the United Nations stands here and all the 'brightest' minds of all the governments of member nations are invited to come and discuss, make plans and make the world a better place. No matter how cleshay that sounds, or your opinion of whether this forum works, I am at least grateful that it exists. It is a definite move in the right direction I think!
So when I went for my very first meeting, invited by a friend who works for the American Cancer Society, I was in a place I dreamed of being ever since deciding to get my International Relations MA.
Dream come true.
The UK seat is closer to the front over to the left!
Okay so I'm a bit of a nerd..
I sat at the seats with the headphones and microphones, couldn't resist! And even though I tried to have some humility, sitting at the back, I couldn't help eye the United Kingdom seat, which I'm sure my ex-colleagues at the Department for International Development probably sat!

put on the headset and choose any language you like
The side meeting covered Non Communicable diseases: NCD's. The four most common NCD's – cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung diseases.
I heard a woman talk about her cancer, Clover Allen Wilson from Jamaica, who spoke of her health insurance giving her a cheque for 1m dollars, whilst her treatment cost up to 4m. She had her husband leave for another woman whilst undergoing chemotherapy and her health insurance stopped. She had to remortgage her home and borrow from relatives, trying to decide what little money was left on groceries or on the bills. She has had Cancer four times and is currently in stage four.
It moved the room to a standing ovation and not many dry eyes in the very full room.

Standing ovation for Clover, sitting next to the first lady of Malawi
I was very inspired and took to learning all I could to write articles highlighting the meeting to come in September: UN members will meet- at a high level meeting to help decide how to help those in the most impoverished areas.(so my delay with blog posting with giving the spotlight to the magazines/papers first.)

Right now, I think of my Dad who had Diabetes, and how this complicated his recovery from an infection after a hip operation, which took his life just a few weeks ago, and that I didn't get to see him.
Also of my very close friends whose mum had Leukemia and has now been in remission for over a year.
I'm so grateful for the NHS, getting cancer, lung disease, diabetes or heart disease in the UK we will get treatment, that wont leave us bankrupt, and counseling for us and those that care for us and the ones we love.

The UN meetings and all that they stand for is positive and intended for change for the better, for everyone, that's a pretty fantastic thing going on in New York everyday in my opinion! What do you think? have you been affected? any inspiring stories?


  1. Sorry to read of your loss. :(

  2. ^
    I forgot to sign off above. I hope you and your family are doing okay.

    I lost my dad to cancer after a short spell of illness. He had the best possible care under the NHS- I can't fault any of the treatment he received. We had so much to worry about at the time- I am glad money wasn't one of
    them as this enabled us to just focus on dad and making sure he was okay.

    I am amazed by the unfairness of the medical system over here and by the monopoly insurance companies and drugs companies have over US healthcare. I am even more amazed by citizens believing that they have a good system in place and the opposition to reforms that would make healthcare accessible to all. I cant see anything behind this opposition beyond selfishness, though i may just be seeing things with overly simplistic glasses on- to me, it seems that decent medical care should be a basic human right in the richest country in the world.

    Have you seen Michael moore's docu-film Sicko? It's worth watching and a real eye opener even if he does exaggerate his points a little.

    Brit Asian in NY

  3. Hey Brita Asian in NY good to 'chat' to you again! Thanks for your message, so sorry to hear about your Dad, it's difficult when they go so quickly.

    You're absolutely right about the last thing to add to all the difficulty is worrying about the payment.
    And I agree what 'Obamacare' seems to be about would benefit all Americans in the long run.
    I love the NHS probably more so I am here in the US and worry about the cost of seeing a Dr if I ever needed one.
    I agree too, decent medical care for all should be a basic human right.
    I haven't seen Michael Moore's docu-film, but I will go and watch it now!