Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has challenged world leaders to convene and discuss the Ebola pandemic.
Kadaga was addressing the 131st Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly currently taking place in Geneva.
“World leaders usually meet on economic and other issues; we want to see them meet over this pandemic,” she said.
Speaker after Speaker came to the floor to add their voices to the discussion on the scourge of the Ebola virus as an emergency item for discussion during the Assembly.
The topic co-authored by Zambia and Belgium, is entitled: The role of parliaments in supporting an immediate and robust international response to the Ebola epidemic and in enacting laws ensuring an effective response to and preparedness for Ebola and other infectious disease outbreaks.
Kadaga also highlighted the plight of expectant mothers in Ebola-prone zones.
“Hospitals in the affected countries have been turned into isolation units for Ebola patients; what is happening to children and expectant mothers?” Kadaga questioned.
She also advocated for increased pay for the health workers, the procurement of more protective equipment, experimental drugs currently being used in the US to be availed in the most affected countries and for more funding to be allotted to research and the management of the disease.
The choice of Emergency Item followed a vote from a total of six issues that had been submitted for consideration by various countries.
Three items qualified for inclusion as emergency items by garnering at least two thirds of the country votes; these were Argentina with 857 votes towards commitment by world parliamentarians to promote a Multi-lateral Legal Framework for Restructuring Countries’ Sovereign Debt with a view to achieving a more stable and Predictable International Financial System.
Chile had 687 votes towards implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2178 so as to address the Humanitarian Disaster Caused by the Terrorist Attacks in Iraq and Syria
The proposal to discuss Ebola had 1221 votes. The Uganda delegation led by Speaker Kadaga cast all Uganda’s 13 votes towards highlighting the Ebola pandemic and abstained on all other issues. Speaker Kadaga presided over the crucial vote that lasted several hours.
To qualify, an Emergency Item must be a major event of international concern and must attain a majority vote with a minimum of two thirds of the vote in the plenary.
“The IPU Assembly will now discuss this issue comprehensively even though it was not on the original agenda, and a document will be drafted on the agreed way forward,” Kadaga added.
Below is the complete list of items that had been submitted for consideration:
1. The Role of Parliamentarians in countering terrorism, terrorist groups such as the so called Daesh and massive violence against civilians, and in building an international partnership through the United Nations and other international organizations as a key factor for enhancing international peace and security – Ecuador & UAE
2. The role of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in addressing the terrorism and extremism of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Al Nusrah Front (ANF) and other terrorist groups – Syria
3. The role of the IPU in encouraging and supporting an initiative aimed at ensuring international protection for the Palestinian people under occupation until a two-State solution is achieved, in the light of the latest Israeli military aggression on Gaza – Palestine
4. Commitment by the world’s parliamentarians to promote a multilateral legal framework for restructuring countries’ sovereign debt with a view to achieving a more stable and predictable international financial system – Argentina
5. The role of parliaments in supporting implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2178 and international support to address the humanitarian disaster caused by the terrorist attacks in Iraq and Syria – Chile
6. The role of parliaments in supporting an immediate and robust international response to the Ebola epidemic and in enacting laws ensuring an effective response to and preparedness for Ebola and other infectious disease outbreaks – Belgium & Zambia