Remark: What do we expect from WHO?

The world media claims that WHO is sexist as it says that women of childbearing age shouldn’t drink.

In its first draft of Global alcohol action plan 2022-2030 WHO states:

“Appropriate attention should be given to prevention of the initiation of drinking among children and adolescents, prevention of drinking among pregnant women and women of childbearing age, and protection of people from pressures to drink, especially in societies with high levels of alcohol consumption where heavy drinkers are encouraged to drink even more.

While the WHO should be aware of the communication traps that have caused numerous problems in the past, we shouldn’t forget the primary responsibility of the World Health Organisation.

WHO is not making laws. It doesn’t ban or forbid anything. It stands for health. Informs, advises, warns, teaches, motivates. It is crucial that with health issues, doctors are direct and straightforward. “If you do not stop smoking, you can die in six months!” No one wants to hear such messages, but if the doctor doesn’t inform the patient about their situation, fearing to hurt their feelings, they are not doing their job.

Almost half of the pregnancies worldwide are unplanned. Many women find out about their pregnancy in the third or fourth week. And prenatal alcohol exposure can cause lifelong harm. That is a fact. WHO, every country, every doctor should inform about that – they should teach, raise awareness, warn and motivate. And then it is every person’s personal choice what they do to avoid that risk. But first, they have to know.

Lauri Beekmann,
Executive director, NordAN