November 23, 2011
The focus of the delegation was the United Nations effort in fostering international children’s health goals. The program began with a working breakfast at the United States Mission to the United Nations where the U.S. Ambassador for Management and Reform, Joseph Torsella, discussed U.S. priorities at the United Nations. He explained how the United States money and resources are well utilized by the United Nations in many international activities, most notably peacekeeping. Ambassador Torsella was joined by members of USUN’s Economic and Social Committee staff who detailed specific areas within the U.N. Millennium Development Goals which the United States finds most effective in advancing the goal of improved health and decreased mortality for the world’s children.
The first briefing at U.N. headquarters was given by Eva Busza, the Director, Strategic Planning Unit, Executive Office of the Secretary-General. Dr. Busza gave an overview of the United Nations for those in the delegation who were visiting the United Nations for the first time. She also presented an in depth discourse on how the United Nations effectively assists countries in transition, those emerging from war, famine, civil unrest, and helps provide the stability to allow U.N. specialized agencies and national governments to mount programs for sanitation, hygiene, and vaccinations which are necessary to lower child mortality rates. Dr. Busza was followed by the UNICEF team of Valentina Buj and Dragoslav Popovic. Ms. Buj is an expert on malaria and Dr. Popovic is the coordinator of immunization programs at UNICEF. Dr. Popovic gave an extremely interesting and informative presentation on the difficulties and achievements in the campaign to immunize children against preventable diseases such as polio, measles, and other communicable diseases.
One of the most impressive successes of the U.N. immunization program is the 78% reduction of reported measles cases worldwide. Ms. Buj spoke not only of the United Nations’ success in reducing malaria deaths among children through its support of the distribution of malaria nets, but also in fighting the other two leading causes of death among the world’s children, anemia and diarrheal diseases.
During a private tour of the United Nations, staffers saw progress on the first complete renovation in 50 years of the U.N. headquarters. The participants then attended a working lunch in the U.N. dining room. The featured speaker was Anita Sharma, the Director of Millennium Development Goals Initiatives at the United Nations Foundation. Ms. Sharma focused on the work of Every Women Every Child, UNF’s effort in support of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. Congressional staffers found the presentation immensely important as they formulate their presentations to their Members of Congress and Senators on the role of the United Sates in the future work of the United Nations.
Ms. Anne Oswalt Heath Care Legislative Assistant, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)
Ms. Kiersten Powers Legislative Aide, Senator Inhofe (R-OK)
Mr. Peter Gwynn-Sackson Health Care Legislative Aide, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-CA)
Mr. Joel Colony Legislative Aide, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Ms. Mary-Sumpter Lapinski Legislative Advisor, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Ms. Emily Mendrala Senate Foreign Relations Committee Staff
Mr. Steven Shearer Chief of Staff, Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL)
Ms. Kara Spencer Heath Care Legislative Aide, Representative Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
Ms. Adrienne Elrod Chief of Staff, Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)
Mr. Jonathan Rucks Senior Policy Advisor, Representative Jan Schaowsky (D-IL)
Mr. Hunter Ridgway Chief of Staff, Representative John Olver (D-MA)
Ms. Erica Powel Legislative Assistant, Representative André Carson (D-IN)
Ms. Gail Gardner Foreign Affairs Legislative Advisor, Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Mr. Sean O'Brien Chief of Staff, Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL)
Ms. Carrie Solomon Legislative Advisor, Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Ms. Rhoda Margesson Congressional Research Service
Ms. Karen Smyth United Nations Information Center