Join Our Spring Campaign! Make an Impact That Lasts a Lifetime →

Resurge International at the United Nations

Share this story

ReSurge International was honored to host a panel at the 68th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women on March 11th, 2024. Entitled “Girls on Fire: The Gendered Outcomes of Burn Injuries” our session focused on the prevalence of burn injuries — a global health issue that disproportionately affects women and girls.

Watch the full event here and read about the event highlights below.

The Gendered Outcomes of Burn Injuries 

Burn injuries are incredibly prevalent globally — every 3 seconds someone requires medical attention due to a burn injury. Women and children are disproportionately impacted. For the 40% of the world’s population that still relies on open-cooking fires and fires as heating and light sources, women and children are more in harm’s way, given that they spend more time at home within reach of this open flame. Women’s loose clothing — saris, scarves, shawls, and head coverings also present additional risk factors.

Leading The Conversation in Global Media

The topics that inspired the event were discussed in The Searing Disparity Between Burn Patients and A Burning Issue — two significant articles published in Think Global Health, written by ReSurge Chief Program Officer, Natalie Meyers, ReSurge Surgical Outreach Partner, Dr. Rose Alenyo, and Senior Global Health Consultant and Public Health Professor, Laura Hoemeke.

Leading The Conversation at The United Nations

We were selected to organize a panel event at the United Nations. Led by ReSurge Chief Program Officer, Natalie Meyers and moderated by Senior Global Health Consultant and Public Health Professor, Laura Hoemeke, the panel explored how we can work to advance burn prevention, treatment, and recovery for girls and women in underserved areas worldwide at The United Nations Commission on The Status of Women. 

Kicking us off, Natalie Meyers opened the floor.

One of the UN’s priority themes for the next 2 weeks during this meeting is, and I quote, Social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Burn injuries, unfortunately,  provide us a great example of how a lack of social protection for women reverberates throughout the entire healthcare system and impacts communities at every level of society.”

She contextualized the prevalence of burns and their implications for women worldwide, describing what is essentially a hidden and urgent gender equity issue: the gendered outcomes of burn injuries. She denoted key facts and insights including that 95% of fire-related burn deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, earning burns the title a disease of poverty. She also highlighted that 80% of intentional burn injuries are perpetuated against women, as a form of gender-based violence.

As Natalie remarked “Women’s health is so much more than gynecological or reproductive health. While obviously, these topics are a critical part of supporting women’s health, we also want to expand the conversation.”

Expanding the Conversation With a Women-Led Panel

The panel featured notable speakers, including ReSurge Surgical Partner, Dr. Rose Alenyo from Uganda, Natalia Ponce de León, an acid attack survivor and activist from Colombia, Dr. Roopa Dhatt, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Women in Global Health, and Jean Moore, Director of the Center for Health and Workforce Studies. It encapsulated the diverse perspectives of a burn surgeon, a burn survivor, and an accredited researcher, alongside the voices of women leaders and advocates across global health. Together, they covered key topics including what it looks like to experience and heal from an acid attack, what it’s like to provide surgical care to burn survivors in low-resource settings, and what it means to be a woman surgeon in a low- and middle-income country.

Panelists explored data-backed challenges and solutions to building gender-responsive surgical ecosystems capable of addressing burn prevention, burn care, and burn recovery at multiple levels in society. The panelist’s presentations were followed by a dynamic question-and-answer period from a fully packed room of eager participants.

What’s Next? A Seat At The Operating Table

Capping off a dynamic discussion, we premiered our upcoming film “A Seat at The Operating Table” in partnership with SkinCeuticals — giving attendees exclusive access to a special showing. The film featured the powerful stories and voices of women surgeons in our PWRS (Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery) Program. We will be making a public debut soon. Stay tuned!

Share this story

Recent Stories

Memorable Moments from Mother’s Day

This past Mother’s Day weekend, we reflected on the mothers we see every day in our community. Mothers who make heartfelt sacrifices in hopes of securing surgical care for their...

Read More

A Clear Vision Ahead

Meet Hue, a Young Woman From Tra Thuy Co For Hue, a young woman from a neighboring community, Tra Thuy Co, the impact of these new training initiatives hit close...

Read More

We are grateful for our opportunity to touch the lives of those needing surgical treatment worldwide and grow sustainable systems for local surgical teams in low-income countries. However, we cannot make an impact without your support. Donate today to create a ripple effect that changes the world through life-changing, no-cost reconstructive surgeries.

Spring Into Action

Your contribution today will enable patients like Luz Dariana to thrive. Together, we can bring hope, healing, and transformation to patients in need around the world!

Jacob Youssef Samuel - Burn Survivor

Make Your Year-End Gift

Join us in transforming lives through reconstructive surgical care.
Any gift made before Jan. 1st is doubled with a 2X match!