World Health Organization (WHO)
Chairs: Sophia Spiegel and Sarah Antico
Topic A: Organ Trafficking
The first successful documented case of successful organ transplantation on a human was performed in 1954 in the United States at Boston’s Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. The procedure involved the transplantation of a man’s kidney to his identical twin. Since that first transplant, the practice has come a long way and in 2010, more than 16,000 kidney transplantations were performed in the U.S. Many organs can now be transplanted and are on a regular basis including liver, heart, retina, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines. Although the practice is now very common, human organ transplants are major procedures requiring many precautions so that the recipient’s immune system does not reject and attack the foreign organ, something that can make the patient sicker than before or even cause death. These precautions include careful matching between donor and recipient of blood and tissue type as well as the recipient taking immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of his/her life.
Topic B: The Global Cigarette Industry
At the beginning of the fifties, research was published showing a statistical link between smoking and lung cancer. At the same time the tobacco industry’s own research began to find carcinogens in smoke and started to confirm the relationship between smoking and cancer. In the face of mounting damning evidence against their product, the companies responded by creating doubt and controversy surrounding the health risks, whilst at the same time, responding to the growing public concern by putting filters on cigarettes and promising research into the health effects of smoking. They lulled the smoking public into a false sense of security, because, while their actions had the hallmarks of responsible companies acting in the public interest, it was actually a public relations strategy to buy time, at the expense of public health. There have been many lawsuits against tobacco corporations, some won and some lost, claiming that tobacco companies are responsible for misleading their customers regarding the health risks.