Medical Initiatives in Conflict and Peacebuilding

Simon Rushton, Colin McInnes

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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That health interventions offer a potential contribution to security has begun to attract interest from both the security and the health communities. According to such a view well-planned and targeted interventions can not only improve health outcomes but can also contribute to achieving wider political goals. In other words, health interventions need no longer be solely ‘for health’s sake’, but may at the same time serve a useful political purpose. The attraction of this idea has grown over recent years. Increasingly the West in general, and the US in particular, is facing complex emergencies where military intervention is not aimed solely at affecting political elites (whether that be bolstering or removing them) , but is also intended to achieve community-level objectives. These have included efforts to improve relationships between local communities and occupying forces (particularly important in an age of ‘asymmetric warfare’); attempts to increase people’s perception of the legitimacy of their government; and actions designed to promote peace and reconciliation between antagonistic communities within a state. US military dominance means that the really difficult battles are no longer traditional military ones. Far more challenging is the task of winning the hearts and minds of a people. Health interventions have increasingly been seen as having a part to play in delivering on these explicitly political objectives.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherJohns Hopkins University Press
Commissioning bodyGlobal Health and Foreign Policy Initiative
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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