Articles in New England Journal of Medicine Focus on Need to Safeguard Health in Conflict


Two Perspective articles in the March 21 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine focus on the need to safeguard health in conflict situations.

In Security of Health Care and Global Health, Robin Coupland shares his views on threats to health care during conflicts. These threats are “not just an issue for humanitarian aid agencies,” he argues. While the “responsibility for addressing this massive global health issue does not ultimately lie with the global health community, but rather with the national and international organizations responsible for ensuring people's security,” he asserts that the “responsibilities of the health care community, however, must include fierce advocacy for the maintenance of this security.”

In Ensuring Public Health Neutrality, Les F. Roberts and Michael J. VanRooyen write about the damage caused by “CIA's false vaccination campaign in Pakistan” and urge renewed efforts to protect health workers who provide lifesaving aid in crisis situations. “If every aid worker with a syringe is suspected of being a spy, the children, families, and communities of the world will no longer have protection against our greatest killers,” they warn. “Ultimately, if the neutrality of public health efforts is undermined, the world will become a more violent and unhealthy place.”

Both articles are currently available for free on The NEJM’s website: