Offer: Global Health and Humanitarianism (Free on-line course; from June 26 to July 28, 2014)
Is humanitarianism an effective, justifiable and sustainable response to ill-health, inequality, injustice and war?
Global health is public health at the global level. It deals with the interconnections between people from all over the world. It is based on the idea that it is necessary to cooperate internationally to respond to diseases, disasters and conflicts which now threaten us all. Humanitarianism, in all its various forms, is one response. In attempting to organise a humanitarian intervention, though, we are confronted by a wide range of problems. Most acute of these is the intense inequality which marks the contemporary world. Public health – its capacities, delivery structures and finances – is profoundly different for the 1 billion people who live in the world’s wealthier countries. Those elsewhere have much more limited access to publicly funded or privately insured medicine. As a consequence, humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) now deliver a large proportion of the world’s health care.
This course introduces these issues by looking first at the vague, yet highly contested, notion a global health agenda. It then goes on to consider how and why the world’s wealthier countries have sought to develop a response to the emergencies and crises that the vulnerabilities of others have produced. Here, public pressure and the ethical imperative to bear witness when confronted with suffering are especially important. Finally, the course considers whether or not humanitarian assistance can be considered a right. It looks at the emerging Responsibility to Protect agenda and the associated moral dilemmas around sovereignty, post-colonialism and duty-based ethics.
Six weeks of study; 1-3 hours of study per week: in English with English subtitles.
No preparatory reading is required - all reading will be provided.