Framing public health education to meet the needs of professionals for war and peacebuilding
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School of Public Health, University College Cork ASPHER Western Gateway Building 4.31, University College Cork. Ireland
Bielefeld University
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A711
Background and Objectives:
Public health plays a crucial role in restoring, protecting, and promoting health of affected populations in times of war and armed conflict. Even though health effects of war are well explored, the development of competencies to address the public health impact has received little attention in public health curricula. Evidence shows that displacement of people and medical staff and attacks on healthcare facilities is on the increase in wars putting the provision of healthcare under pressure. Therefore, public health professionals need to adapt to new ways of working in times of war and peacebuilding.

To strengthen War and Peacebuilding specific competencies, we suggest building upon the WHO-ASPHER Competency multi-dimensional Framework. It provides an already established framework for Schools of Public Health and additional public health organizations and, at the same time, can be extended to understand and prevent the political, economic, social, and cultural determinants of war.

We explore and highlight linkage points for adapting public health curricula and defining competencies specific to war and peacebuilding in public health in the respective Framework categories. For example, international frameworks on war, peacebuilding, and healthcare as well as potential ethical dilemmas need to be address in law policies and ethics competencies. As for leadership and systems thinking, public health emergency management and risk communication in times of war need to be addressed.

To equip the public health workforce for times of war and peacebuilding, training resources and curricula need to catch up. Our proposed adapted competency framework could help as a first step with that adaptation and highlights synergistic effects with related fields such as outbreak control, disaster management and humanitarian work.

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