September 16, 2019
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 In Expanding Access to Medical Resources

Country: Guatemala
Delegate Name: Isabella Feenstra

World Health Organization
Expanding Access to Medical Resources
Republic of Guatemala
Isabella Feenstra
Forest Hills Eastern

In developing countries, access to medical resources is harrowing. To strive to meet these countries’ needs, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals aim to eliminate poverty, hunger, disease, and discrimination by meticulously developing each country’s social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Specifically, SDG number 3’s objective is to improve health and well-being, and point 3.8 encourages countries to grant access to affordable, effective, and reliable healthcare services through universal health coverage. An estimated 400 million people do not have access to essential healthcare services due to a lack of resources or affordability. Additionally, 10% of middle to low-income countries’ medications are found to be substandard or falsified. Unfortunately, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has negatively impacted the progress of the United Nations Development Programme in countless countries. 92% of countries’ essential healthcare systems have been disrupted, 22.7 million children did not possess crucial vaccines as of 2020, and COVID-19 halted universal healthcare coverage efforts. The formidable threat, the lack of access to medical resources, is urgent.
The Republic of Guatemala’s topography presents significant obstacles to Guatemalans’ acquisition of medical resources. Rural land is predominant in Guatemala at 43%, as opposed to the coastline and urban developments. The majority of the population resides in the rugged mountainous region and is indigenous (50%). Yet these remote rural areas have little or no access to medical facilities. Tragically, indigenous groups are harshly afflicted by various socioeconomic disadvantages, including a lower life expectancy than non-indigenous Guatemalans (13 years), childhood growth stunting 50% more than non-indigenous, and four times the maternal mortality rates. Furthermore, many face dire situations of poverty, malnutrition, and discrimination. Due to these factors, many indigenous Guatemalans mistrust the health systems in Guatemala and opt to perform traditional remedies in the case of an outbreak like COVID-19. 80% of all accounted doctors reside in Guatemala City alone, leaving despairing prospects for medical help in agricultural areas. Alas, conditions in urban areas do not fare much better, as the poverty rate in Guatemala is 59.3%. Many cannot afford to consult doctors; instead, they purchase prescription drugs at corner stores. Doing so increases the risk of falsified medications due to no labels on the products.
The Republic of Guatemala urges the United Nations to consider assisting with the channels in which Guatemalan healthcare is distributed. Guatemala proposes using remote medical units such as drones to provide remote indigenous populations with crucial medical care. As Guatemala possesses the acute mannerism of SDG’s purposes, we wish to help provide an example of the United Nations relief efforts and their advantageous effects on our population. The Republic of Guatemala encourages all member nations to develop a healthcare system that is accessible and affordable.

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