Peace through healthBMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7320.1020 (Published 03 November 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1020
This new movement needs evidence, not just ideology
- Alex Vass, editorial registrar
By 2020 the World Health Organization and the World Bank predict that war will be one of the top 10 causes of disability and death.1 Recent events may well bring this date forward. “Is there anything that health professionals can do to prevent this?” was the key question addressed at the first international “Peace through Health” conference held last month at McMaster University (http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/peace-health).
Health professionals care for those wounded in war. The Red Cross was founded in 1864 specifically for this purpose. Other health agencies, such as the Nobel Prize winning Médecins Sans Frontières, have been involved in dealing not just with the immediate but also the long term consequences of war. The cost of war goes beyond the direct health effects of bombs and bullets. Economic and social systems are disrupted, famine and epidemics may follow, and resources are …