The Importance of the US Institute of Peace

By: Amy Hagopian
Citizens concerned about global health as well as conflict resolution should be deeply concerned that the budget passed by the House of Representatives eliminates funding for the United States Institute of Peace. The worst health indicators, the highest rates of gender based violence, and the most dismal prospects for health systems, occur in states affected by conflict and political instability. In such countries, moreover, the health sector has a key role to play in the post-conflict period in developing critically needed services and contributing to the emergence of a legitimate state.

The Institute of Peace is playing a unique and critical role in illuminating these issues and devising concrete solutions that have impact in the world. For example, it brought together humanitarian organizations and the U.S. military that developed agreed-upon guidelines that better protect aid workers and assure that people in need of assistance can get it. It has identified ways of improving the safety of health workers and patients in armed conflict based on the experience of polio vaccination programs conducted in the midst of war. Its review of health services in Afghanistan contributed to preservation of a program that prevents an estimated 100,000 child deaths a year.

USIP receives its funding from Congress but is not a federal agency. Its independence permits it to discuss issues like the role of health programs in counterinsurgency policy, the place of the health sector in addressing gender-based violence, and the prospects for health as “bridge to peace” in the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

USIP was not founded to focus on global health or on humanitarian assistance. But the fact that it contributes in these realms shows its enormous value – and how it is a bargain for our country and for people whose lives are so damaged by war.

World Health Assembly 2010: CODE of PRACTICE Emerges from Committee

It looks like the Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel may pass out of the World Health Assembly before we adjourn on Friday.  When it comes up, Dr. Amy Hagopian will testify on behalf of the Global Health Council.

There are a lot of heroes in this story.  The most recent bearers of the torch are the hard-working and high-stamina delegates from low-income countries and their delegate friends in solidarity from Norway, the European Union as headed by Spain, Sweden, and other right-thinking countries (or are those left-thinking countries?). Read more about the latest developments at Blog 4 Global Health.

World health Assembly 2010: Update on health worker code

There was late-breaking news at the World Health Assembly on Monday with regard to the Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel. The Spanish delegation made a late afternoon motion in Committee A to move the code OFF the agenda for a Tuesday vote, and instead to send it to a drafting committee for improvements. Read Dr. Amy Hagopian’s post at Blog 4 Global Health.

World Health Assembly 2010: important vote on global health workforce

The 63rd annual World Health Assembly opens May 17, 2010 at 2:30 pm with an address by Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization.  There are several potentially important issues on the agenda, but the one of great interest to APHA’s International Health Section is the scheduled vote tomorrow afternoon on item 11.5,  “International recruitment of health personnel: draft global code of practice.”

Read Dr. Amy Hagopian’s, member of our section and Governing Councilor, blog post about this important vote on the Blog 4 Global Health.