Peacebuilding in conflict and war-stricken areas remains a complex undertaking and there is no assurance in the heat of intense conflict areas. Conflict can be driven by a range of factors such as geopolitical tensions, religion or historical complications. As a result, it is often the civilians of conflicting areas who face the most severe consequences of war.
War continues to incite widespread devastation in countries all over the world, the Global Peace Index 2023, details how conflicts in the regions of sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific have intensified. Meanwhile, the death toll continues to grow in the Ukraine and Russia war whilst extensive reports of casualties and hostages rise from the unexpected escalations in the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. As geopolitical tensions rise and both great and middle powers feud over influence, health and peace for civilians of these conflicting states deteriorate significantly. There is a wide range of factors that arise from conflicts such as blockades, injury, casualty and resource deprivation.
IEP closely align with the belief that conflict areas require healthcare interventions that additionally maintains a focus on facilitating peacebuilding as post-conflict conditions present a range of physical, psychological and social needs as communities look to rebuild after war. The health interventions required in the aftermath of violent conflicts are widespread, as a result of the likely destruction of healthcare facilities and infrastructure. This often requires the establishment of healthcare services for the treatment of serious injuries, diseases and malnutrition. Equally important is the provision of mental health support and services which aim to address psychological trauma.
Healthcare intervention in post-conflict areas with a consideration of peacebuilding has the ability to incorporate services that can promote social cohesion and reconciliation as communities look to re-engage with each other and rebuild a positive society. IEP has identified a range of ways in which healthcare can correlate with the pillars of Positive Peace, in order to actively carry out the intervention of health and peacebuilding measures.
Specific to the post-conflict setting, healthcare has the potential to provide a platform for positive and constructive dialogue. This helps guide cooperation between individuals and groups, potentially divided by ethnic, religious or political differences. These services further contain the ability to promote peace through activities of conflict management and social fabric strengthening.
At a time where a community is at its most vulnerable, carefully considered approaches must be taken that are accessible, impartial and culturally sensitive, so that trust is rebuilt within societies who look to progress out of post-war conditions. Whilst healthcare initiates our primary concerns for post-war interventions, there should be genuine consideration of the fact that these interventions maintain considerable avenues for peacebuilding. Effective healthcare has the ability to restore health, rebuild societies and foster the necessary conditions for the regeneration of peace.