Diplomacy is crucial for successful health aid in fragile states, hears conference

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 02 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6978

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  1. Tessa Richards
  1. 1BMJ

Aid agencies seeking to provide health services to people in countries torn by conflict or political instability need to find ways to support local leaders and work collaboratively with civil society organisations, global health experts meeting in Geneva said.

Anne Claxton, an adviser to World Vision International, described how such an approach had helped establish a successful tuberculosis treatment service in war torn Somalia

After two decades of war the infrastructure in Somalia had all but collapsed and there was a massive displacement of people internally and across borders, said Ms Claxton.

“Rates of malnutrition were high and TB [tuberculosis] rates—at 460 per 100 000—among the highest in the world. Medical and nursing schools had deteriorated, doctors and nurses were not being paid, and most health services were being provided by externally funded NGOs [non-governmental organisations]. We were faced with the problem of negotiating with …

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