MEET THE CHAIR
Topic A: Reforming the Global Pharmaceutical Industry
Rapid advancements in science, technology, and medicine have led to the rise of the complex, dynamic field that is the pharmaceutical industry. Given public dependence on pharmaceutical products to maintain and improve quality of health, it is crucial that this industry is both efficient and safe. Unfortunately, multiple issues limit the positive impact of the pharmaceutical industry, ranging from counterintuitive patent laws to safety concerns. Potentially promising areas of discussion for improvement include analyzing intellectual property rights, incentivizing innovation, and investing in scalable solutions to regulate problems such as counterfeit medicine. Still, balancing the business interests of research and development companies with the medical needs and financial constraints of the global population is a difficult issue to navigate. It is therefore the responsibility of the World Health Organization to resolve the best manner in which to suggest standards for and advise the global pharmaceutical industry.
Rajkumar S. Pammal is a senior at Harvard College concentrating in History of Science with a secondary field in Global Health and Health Policy on the pre-medicine track. He was born and raised in Long Island, New York, where he first became involved in Model UN as a freshman in high school. At Harvard, Rajkumar is quite involved in Model UN and the International Relations Council, currently serving as Director-General for Harvard Model United Nations 2017, and having served as a Director for HNMUN, HNMUN-Latin America, and HMUN India, Under-Secretary-General of Business for HMUN 2016, and a member of Harvard’s intercollegiate model UN team. Rajkumar has served as Co-Chair of the Economic Policy Group at the Institute of Politics, a member of Global Medical Brigades in Honduras, and an Executive Board Member of the South Asian Healthcare Leadership Forum. He enjoys playing tennis competitively and playing the alto saxophone. This will be Rajkumar’s third and final WorldMUN, and as an aspiring medical doctor, he is truly excited to serve as your Chair for the World Health Organization.
Topic B: Combating the International Obesity and Diabetes Epidemic
Epidemiological trends indicate a transition from communicable diseases toward non-communicable diseases in terms of recent global health disease burden. As such, it is estimated that over six hundred million adults worldwide are obese, as prevalence of obesity has doubled in the past thirty years. A particularly troubling fact is that the majority of the world's population lives in countries where obesity and being overweight is responsible for more deaths than being underweight/undernourished. Additionally, a common health consequence of obesity is diabetes, a chronic condition impacting the regulation of blood sugar that is a leading cause of death globally. As obesity is a preventable condition, the World Health Organization has attempted to address this issue with efforts such as the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity, and Health. Yet, there are multiple areas for prospective interventions, including examining the agricultural impact on food markets, and the effects of labor conditions and workplace environment on lifestyle. By developing a comprehensive plan to reduce the prevalence of obesity and diabetes, the World Health Organization can remain true to its mission of promoting the highest level of international public health.