Why I go to low- and middle-resource countries

by Laurie Elit Members of the Humanitarian Health Ethics group have varied motivations for their involvement in low resource settings. Some people travel to these settings for academic reasons trying to study the situation in order to improve things. Some travel to provide health care for people who would otherwise not be able to access such services. I was asked to comment on the motivation that has kept me involved in short-term missions.

Pandemic Heroes: Saving Humankind on the Big Screen

by Christos Lynteris The depiction of the epidemiologist as a culture hero on the big screen comes to provide a tangible form to the exceptionality of epidemics, unburdening them from the culpabilities of the past and delivering them to the urgency of a suspended future.

The Rising Humanitarian Tide

by John Pringle (version français à la suite) “Every ship is unsinkable, until it sinks” (Crawley, 2010). So it is with human rights: inviolable until they are denied. The right to protection from war, the right to maritime rescue, the right to…

From ‘suffering others’ to ‘aspiring mothers’: the contemporary image world of global maternal health campaigns

Maternal mortality was once described as the neglected tragedy of global health. Though it was estimated in the 1980s that nearly half a million women died each year from pregnancy and birth related causes – 99% of them in the global south – little attention was paid and little progress was made for many years. Recently, however, the problem of maternal mortality has become somewhat of a cause célèbre attracting the attention of world leaders, billionaire philanthropists, celebrity journalists, and filmmakers.

The Humanitarian Politics of Cecil the Lion

In case you missed it, in late July, Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, beheaded Cecil, a lion living in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Indeed, the poaching of Cecil the lion was unfortunate. But the righteous expressions of moral high ground that accompanied media discussions lay bare some key issues around representations of Africa that warrant further attention. Public shaming of Mr. Palmer focused on outrage over his sense of Western entitlement that led him to disregard Zimbabwean laws to kill “Africa's most beloved lion”. Ironically, these selective narratives play into the same power dynamics and sense of entitlement that they set out to critique.

Two Tweets, Two Different Takes on People

by Sonya de Laat The Tweets: UN Refugee Agency @Refugees Refugees. Ordinary people living through extraordinary times. Share Tahir's story this ‪#‎WRD trib.al/AaBPuqW pic.twitter.com/aOFOjAFPPc Maptia @Maptia The Dani still wear penis sheaths, but they also keep their savings in banks: http://bit.ly/1e62clk…

hhe members author ALNAP blog on palliative care in humanitarian crises

Elysée Nouvet and Lisa Schwartz co-authored a blog post for ALNAP on July 10, 2015 entitled: Is palliative care in humanitarian crises a luxury? If there is one thing the Ebola crisis has generated these past 18 months, it is…

An Outbreak of Outbreaks: Humanitarian Epidemiology in West Africa

Eritrea, northern Nigeria, and most recently Sierra Leone. Meningitis, lead poisoning and Ebola. My narrow experience of the three outbreaks—meningitis, lead poisoning and Ebola—demonstrates how poverty kills. Outbreaks flourish where there is insufficient investment in essential public health services, where poverty is the norm, where global neoliberalism sacrifices community health on the altar of free market capitalism.

HumEthNet Member Dr. Lynda Redwood-Campbell Comments on the Importance of Coordination in Disaster Response Action

“Coordination – that would be the big lesson of Haiti. Haiti was a disaster upon a disaster,” Canadian doctor Dr. Lynda Redwood-Campbell and HumEthNet member tells Globe and Mail reporter, Affan Chowdhry in a recent article about how past disasters will aid relief efforts in earthquake-ravaged Nepal. “There was a complete lack of coordination with foreign medical teams. Everybody and everybody’s cousin seemed to be there internationally. There was no good overarching coordination.”

The Unwelcome Return of Development Porn

For 35 years now, there has been a raging debate within international NGO circles around the use of images of starving black children in fundraising materials. Guidelines and codes of conduct adopted in several countries nearly a decade ago affirmed that all future communications by international development NGOs must be based on core values of human dignity, respect and truthfulness. Despite this, recent years have witnessed NGOs that should know better reverting to type, calling up disaster images from the 1970s in a desperate attempt to increase their organizational income, whatever the cost. A battle which we thought had been won many years ago clearly needs to be fought afresh in each new generation.