A unique per­spec­tive on con­flict zones

THE (Times Higher Education) - - KING'S COLLEGE LONDON -

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

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