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Health Care Providers in War and Armed Conflict: Operational and Educational Challenges in International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions, Part I. Historical Perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 April 2018

Frederick M. Burkle Jr
Affiliation:
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University and Harvard T.C. Chan School of Public Health, Cambridge, Massachusetts Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, District of Columbia
Adam L. Kushner
Affiliation:
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, District of Columbia Department of International Health, Center for Humanitarian Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
Christos Giannou
Affiliation:
International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland Blizard Institute, University of London, United Kingdom
Mary A. Paterson
Affiliation:
School of Nursing, The Catholic University of America, Washington, District of Columbia
Sherry M. Wren
Affiliation:
Center for Innovation in Global Health, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California Palo Alto Veterans Health Care System, Palo Alto, California
Gilbert Burnham
Affiliation:
Department of International Health, Center for Global Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Since 1945, the reason for humanitarian crises and the way in which the world responds to them has dramatically changed every 10 to 15 years or less. Planning, response, and recovery for these tragic events have often been ad hoc, inconsistent, and insufficient, largely because of the complexity of global humanitarian demands and their corresponding response system capabilities. This historical perspective chronicles the transformation of war and armed conflicts from the Cold War to today, emphasizing the impact these events have had on humanitarian professionals and their struggle to adapt to increasing humanitarian, operational, and political challenges. An unprecedented independent United Nations–World Health Organization decision in the Battle for Mosul in Iraq to deploy to combat zones emergency medical teams unprepared in the skills of decades-tested war and armed conflict preparation and response afforded to health care providers and dictated by International Humanitarian Law and Geneva Convention protections has abruptly challenged future decision-making and deployments. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:109–115)

Type
Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2018 

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