Global health ambassador attends UN commission
Professor Jaya Dantas, International Health Program, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, attended the sixtieth session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) as a delegate of Graduate Women International (GWI). Professor Dantas also represented Curtin University and the Public Health Association of Australia at the commission. The CSW60 took place at the UN Headquarters in New York from 14 March – 24 March 2016.
Professor Dantas and Professor Shirley Randell, Order of Australia (AO) and international education and gender expert, made a presentation at the CSW60 entitled ‘Women’s Empowerment and the link to Sustainable Development using global case scenarios from India, Bangladesh, Rwanda and Western Australia on implementing rights-based approaches to enhance effective education for women’. Several participants from Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya, USA, Canada, India and New Zealand contributed to the discussion.
Professor Dantas also met with the Australian Government and GWI delegation to share information and debrief about events at the CSW60.
Professor Dantas then visited Cuba as a guest of the Cuban Society for Public Health, which invited her to share her participatory research using photovoice with refugees, and her interest in health inequalities. Professor Dantas visited the world renowned Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (Latin American School of Medicine, ELAM) and met with the Vice-Rector, Dr Maritza Gonzalez Bravo, MD.
“A glimpse of the internationally recognised Cuban health system highlighted the political will of the Cuban government to provide healthcare to the Cuban population at no cost,” Professor Dantas said.
“Cuba’s health care system is based on prevention and primary health care, and the results achieved are exceptional. In spite of the sanctions and economic embargo for over fifty years, Cuban health indicators are similar to the most developed countries. The infant mortality rate in Cuba is lower than it is in the United States, and is among the lowest in the world.”
Over 26,000 medical doctors, from some of the most disadvantaged communities and countries in the world, have graduated from ELAM on scholarships since it was established in 1998. Currently, more than 2,000 young medical students from more than 100 nations study medicine at ELAM. Since 1963, Cuban health expertise has benefited developing nations, including some of the poorest countries in the world and Cuban doctors are at the frontline in any disaster or epidemic especially in the developing world.