A unique perspective on conflict zones
The focus of the Conflict and Health Research Group is on under-represented areas of global health, such as mental health and other noncommunicable diseases.
“We bring to bear a response to civilian issues in a military context and an ability to go into hostile and politically complex environments and deliver services on the ground,” explains Richard Sullivan, professor of cancer and global health at King’s College London and co-director of the CHRG.
The King’s network includes its institutions in London, including St Thomas’ Hospital and the Institute of Psychiatry, plus international partners and agencies, such as Médecins San Frontières and the American University of Beirut.
The CHRG’s work of delivering health services into conflict zones and health catastrophe areas has taken it to numerous hot spots, such as Kosovo, Liberia during the Ebola outbreak, and the current wars in the Middle East.
“Our work sees us go into conflict and post-conflict zones in intra-state wars such as Syria and the ‘narco’ wars of Mexico,” says Sullivan.
“At King’s, we define conflict broadly and so our work also takes us into high-income countries, such as the US, where we work on healthcare issues in gangland areas of Los Angeles, and also into developing countries, such as Brazil’s favelas”.
One of the things King’s does well – and differently – is to create a bridge between health in military and civilian fields, says Sullivan. “We have fantastic policy links to national and international organisations such as World Health Organisation guidelines and the UN. This gives us an end-to-end impact from delivering clinical care on the ground to an ability to directly influence policymaking.”
On the ground King’s delivers health services in Syria