Security Council Topic 2
Cessation of Conflict to Address Public Health
War has detrimental health effects, on military and civilian populations, and on the environment. The health professionals’ code of ethics, competencies, and prevention frameworks indicates that public health professionals are responsible for addressing the fundamental causes of disease, including those that may require political advocacy. Some public health professional preparation programs have studied or taught content related to the health effects of war; some practitioners have intervened during wartime, and some public health organizations have adopted policy positions on the prevention of war. Although the activities help substantiate a role for public health in war, they show that public health has been more focused on the effects of war than on working toward the prevention of the causes of war. The many manifestations of militarism emphasize the need for greater public health efforts to prevent war by addressing these factors.
Decreasing the number of wars is essential to working on public health and helping those affected by war. War causes both mental and physical health problems to those fighting and those caught in the cross hairs of the fighting leading to more health problems and a larger problem to solve. The American Public Health Association (APHA) believes that preventing armed conflicts starts with health practitioners and their communication and political methods. Healthcare workers, for instance, show their communication to the public with their immunization campaigns. The effects of war include death, injury, sexual violence, malnutrition, illness, and disability. The APHA states that health professionals can also prevent war by “promoting the human rights of the victims of combat, and encouraging the cessation of hostilities”.
Mental health has become a growing issue throughout the world, and war will put more strain on the individual’s mental well-being. The World Health Organization (WHO) Commission on the Social Determinants of Health pointed out that war affects children’s health, leads to displacement and migration, and diminishes agricultural productivity. Child and maternal mortality, vaccination rates, birth outcomes, and water quality and sanitation are worse in conflict zones.
Your task is to develop an international plan to prevent future conflicts and pause current conflicts with the need to prioritize public health.
Questions to consider:
- Has your country engaged in warfare? If so, what were the causes behind it?
- Has your country taken action to prevent wars?
- What are some methods to start creating better global relations?
- What has your country done to help address public health?
- What type of health issues are most common in your country?
- Should the UN be more active in global conflicts?
Resources to Consider:
“Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” United Nations, https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights
“The World Factbook.” Central Intelligence Agency, 2022, https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/
“Public Health History Timeline.” Southeast Public Health Training Center, 2012, https://sphtc.org/timeline/timeline.html
“Health.” United Nations, 2022, https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/health
“Public health.” UNHCR, 2022, https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/public-health.html
“Our Work.” World Health Organization, 2022, https://www.who.int/
Moore, Sarah, and B. Sc Emily Henderson. “The Impacts of War on Global Health.” News-Medical.Net, 15 Sept. 2021, https://www.news-medical.net/health/The-Impacts-of-War-on-Global-Health.aspx.
Murthy, R. Srinivasa, and Rashmi Lakshminarayana. “Mental Health Consequences of War: A Brief Review of Research Findings.” World Psychiatry: Official Journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), vol. 5, no. 1, 2006, pp. 25–30.
Rathi, Amrita. “Psychological Impact of Victims of War and Conflict.” Apa.Org, https://www.apa.org/international/united-nations/un-matters/rathi-war.pdf. Accessed 4 June 2022.
“The Mental Health Effects of War: Backed by Science.” Utah.Edu, https://healthcare.utah.edu/hmhi/news/2022/war-mental-health.php. Accessed 4 June 2022.
Wiist, William H et al. “The role of public health in the prevention of war: rationale and competencies.” American journal of public healthvol. 104,6 (2014): e34-47. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301778
United Nations. (n.d.). UN secretary-general calls for global ceasefire to focus on ending the COVID-19 pandemic . United Nations. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://www.un.org/en/academic-impact/un-secretary-general-calls-global-ceasefire-focus-ending-covid-19-pandemic
The Role of Public Health Practitioners, Academics, and Advocates in Relation to Armed Conflict and War . The role of public health practitioners, academics, and advocates in relation to armed conflict and war. (2009, November 10). Retrieved August 25, 2022, from
APHA. (2014, July 22). The Role of Public Health Practitioners, Academics, and Advocates in Relation to Armed Conflict and War . Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://www.apha.org