[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There has been greater discussion among humanitarians in recent years about the rise in the number of 'strong states', and the suggestion has been made that states are increasingly reasserting their sovereignty. This introduction to this special issue of Disasters on 'State Sovereignty and Humanitarian Action' contends that it is not states that have changed, but rather the international framework that surrounds humanitarian action. The latter has altered so substantially that a fundamental gap has developed between states and international humanitarian actors in terms of describing what sovereignty entails and how it is expressed. At the heart of this dilemma are the urgent needs of people caught up in crises, whose well-being becomes the contested ground on which states and humanitarian actors clash. This paper explores the current and historical dimensions of these shifts, and provides a conceptual overview for this special issue.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract While scholarship on health in conflict-affected countries is growing, there has been relatively little analysis of how armed conflict affects health systems in specific African countries, especially former French colonies. There is even less literature on the role of history in shaping health systems and how historical factors such as inequity may influence health impacts of armed conflict. Based on Côte d'Ivoire, this article argues that historical multidisciplinary analysis can provide valuable insight into the macro-level political, economic and social determinants of the health system over time. It explores how armed conflict has affected health services and exacerbates historically inherited challenges to the health system including unequal distribution of health services, bias towards curative care in urban areas, inadequate human resources and weak health governance. In the post-conflict period, this understanding may assist governments and other stakeholders to develop more appropriate health policies that address both urgent and long-term health needs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction Incidents involving the exposure of large numbers of people to radiological material can have serious consequences for those affected, their community and wider society. In many instances, the psychological effects of these incidents have the greatest impact. People fear radiation and even incidents which result in little or no actual exposure have the potential to cause widespread anxiety and behavior change. The aim of this study was to assess public intentions, beliefs and information needs in the UK and Germany in response to a hidden radiological exposure device. By assessing how the public is likely to react to such events, strategies for more effective crisis and risk communication can be developed and designed to address any knowledge gaps, misperceptions and behavioral responses that are contrary to public health advice. METHODS: This study had three stages. The first stage consisted of focus groups which identified perceptions of and reactions to a covert radiological device. The incident was introduced to participants using a series of mock newspaper and broadcast injects to convey the evolving scenario. The outcomes of these focus groups were used to inform national telephone surveys, which quantified intended behaviors and assessed what perceptions were correlated with these behaviors. Focus group and survey results were used to develop video and leaflet communication interventions, which were then evaluated in a second round of focus groups. RESULTS: In the first two stages, misperceptions about the likelihood and routes of exposure were associated with higher levels of worry and greater likelihood of engaging in behaviors that might be detrimental to ongoing public health efforts. The final focus groups demonstrated that both types of misunderstanding are amenable to change following targeted communication. Conclusion Should terrorists succeed in placing a hidden radiological device in a public location, then health agencies may find that it is easier to communicate effectively with the public if they explicitly and clearly discuss the mechanisms through which someone could be affected by the radiation and the known geographical spread of any risk. Messages which explain how the risk from a hidden radiological device "works" should be prepared and tested in advance so that they can be rapidly deployed if the need arises. Pearce JM , Rubin GJ , Selke P , Amlôt R , Mowbray F , Rogers MB . Communicating with the public following radiological terrorism: results from a series of focus groups and national surveys in Britain and Germany. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(2):1-10 .
Prehospital and disaster medicine: the official journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians and the World Association for Emergency and Disaster Medicine in association with the Acute Care Foundation 12/2012;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article demonstrates how the work of Pierre Bourdieu offers a productive way to practice research in international relations. It especially explores the alternatives opened by Bourdieu in terms of a logic of practice and practical sense that refuses an opposition between general theory and empirical research. Bourdieu’s preference for a relational approach, which destabilizes the different versions of the opposition between structure and agency, avoids some of the traps commonly found in political science in general and theorizations of international relations in particular: essentialization and ahistoricism; a false dualism between constructivism and empirical research; and an absolute opposition between the collective and the individual. The “thinking tools” of field and habitus, which are both collective and individualized, are examined in order to see how they resist such traps. The article also engages with the question of whether the international itself challenges some of Bourdieu’s assumptions, especially when some authors identify a global field of power while others deny that such a field of power could be different from a system of different national fields of power. In this context, the analysis of transversal fields of power must be untied from state centrism in order to discuss the social transformations of power relations in ways that do not oppose a global/international level to a series of national and subnational levels.
International Political Sociology 09/2011; 5(3):225 - 258.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Poverty is highly concentrated in countries affected by armed conflict which are the furthest from reaching the Millennium Development Goals. Tracking aid patterns for health is crucial for improving the effectiveness of external aid to countries affected by armed conflict which tend to depend heavily upon external assistance and also have particularly acute health needs.
This study systematically assesses the reliability of global aid databases which are commonly used for tracking aid to countries affected by armed conflict. It offers analyses of two main databases - the Creditor Reporting System (CRS) and the Financial Tracking System (FTS) by reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of these data sources.
A literature review was conducted to assess the existing evidence on aid tracking generally, and aid databases more broadly. Interviews were also conducted with experts involved in health resource tracking, donor agencies, and NGOs.
Despite limitations, the CRS and FTS are appropriate for tracking aid for conflict-affected countries as they are comprehensive and allow analysis of different aid activities, countries, years, and donors.
The study offers recommendations on how CRS and FTS might be enhanced to try and improve the accountability and effectiveness of aid to countries affected by armed conflict.
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