By J Nastranis
NEW YORK (IDN) – A Brazilian social scientist and a Polish organization have bagged the 2016 United Nations Population Award. Established by the UN General Assembly in 1981, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in the fields of population and health.
Dr Carmen Barroso, a Brazilian social scientist has won the award for her long commitment to population causes. The ‘Childbirth in Dignity Foundation’, a Polish organization is being honoured for promoting improved quality of care for Polish mothers and new-borns.
The award is scheduled to be presented at the United Nations on June 23.
Dr Barroso’s contributions to population questions and their solutions had a great impact through her leadership of major organizations, according to documents submitted to the Population Award Committee. In Brazil, she was a pioneer in gender studies while working at the Chagas Foundation and teaching at the University of Sao Paulo.
She published extensively in academic and popular media and served on many boards and international commissions. After directing the Reproductive Health and Population Programme at the U.S. MacArthur Foundation, she became Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Western Hemisphere Region, in New York. She was first non-American to be appointed as director in the MacArthur Foundation.
Dr Barroso was a member of the Commission on Reproductive Health of the Brazilian government, a pioneer effort for engaging multiple stakeholders in accountability for women’s health policies. She is currently a member of the Independent Accountability Panel on the Global Strategy on Women, Children and Adolescents Health, which was set up by the United Nations Secretary-General in February 2016.
A strong supporter of the rights of women and the new-born for almost two decades, according to submissions to the Award Committee, the Childbirth with Dignity Foundation has helped improve the treatment of women in hospitals in Poland. Operating through campaigns and other advocacy efforts, the Foundation has empowered women to demand their patients’ rights in relation to childbirth.
The Foundation is a non-governmental organisation working with pregnant women and the mothers of new-borns and toddlers. “Our aim is to empower women so that they may openly express their needs and demand the respect of their rights. Furthermore, the women’s experiences are highly publicized in the firm belief that a society that recognises the significance of such issues as childbirth and motherhood will surely become a more sensitive, open and caring society,” states the Foundation’s website.
The Foundation was awarded the Japanese Sasakawa Health Prize for a special contribution to improving the quality of perinatal care and raising women’s awareness of their rights. The prize was established in 1984 at the initiative and with funds provided by Ryoichi, Chairman of the Japan Shipbuilding Industry Foundation and President of the Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation.
The Committee for the United Nations Population Award, which selects the awardees, is chaired by Paraguay, and includes Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Haiti, Iran, Israel and Poland.
Past laureates selected by the Committee included individuals and organizations, such as Bill and Melinda Gates, Dr Allen Rosenfeld, the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and the Population Council. [IDN-InDepthNews – 28 April 2016]
IDN is the flagship of International Press Syndicate.
Image credit: The World Counts