Outbreaks of filovirus (Ebola and Marburg) hemorrhagic fevers in Africa are typically the theater of rescue activities involving international experts and agencies tasked with reinforcing national authorities in clinical management, biological diagnosis, sanitation, public health surveillance and coordination. These outbreaks can be seen as a paradigm for ethical issues posed by epidemic emergencies, through the convergence of such themes as: isolation and quarantine, privacy and confidentiality and the interpretation of ethical norms across different ethnocultural settings.
Since June 2007, the split between the leaders of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank has been confirmed. This situation has had even more catastrophic consequences for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as it is accompanied by an Israeli occupation that is not becoming more flexible. Despite the truce in place since June 2008 between the Hamas and Israel, Israeli restrictions on the movement of goods and people are stricter than ever, and the de facto separation between the two territories make it difficult to foresee a national future and the construction of a Palestinian State.
In the occupied Palestinian Territories, the international community has clearly chosen the principle of humanitarian "contention": it gives millions of euros and dollars in aid via UN agencies, international and local NGOs... in order to offset the effects of the military occupation of the West Bank and, for over a year now, the tragic consequences of the blockade on Gaza. This method allows it to contain the situation without having to intervene, intervention being the last thing that the great powers of the Security Council want.
The resource curse is a theory that explains the inverse relationship classically seen between dependence on natural resources and economic growth. It defines a peculiar economic and political environment, epitomised by oil extraction in sub-Saharan Africa.
In public health practice, some circumstances may lead to a clash between individual patients’ rights and measures aimed at safeguarding the security of populations. The dilemma is classically illustrated by a number of severe communicable diseases with high potential of transmission, such as SARS, viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHF) and pneumonic plague. National public health regulations are expected to provide legal and technical guidance over intrusive or restrictive measures applied to communicable diseases control.
Humanitarian Stakes No.1 is a compilation of articles prepared by the panellists who participated in a day of conferences debates on “Humanitarian Borders” in Geneva on 13 December 2007. The articles are organized by topic to reflect the original program of the day. MSF Switzerland also has also produced a DVD of the day containing panelists’ presentations and the debate portion of the sessions, in addition to the electronic versions of the articles published.
From the Oslo process to the second Intifada, answers from the International Community regarding the Palestinian situation have changed from development projects planned over several years to food security emergency interventions. These interventions have an impact on natural resources, commercial agreements, land rights, agricultural national policy, etc. The aim of this contribution is to give an overview of the food security sector in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), through an analysis of the actors in charge and policies adopted.
Myanmar is a particularly difficult context for MSF’s humanitarian action: access to those in need is possible "at the cost of a permanent contortion exercise between the respect of our principles as humanitarian actors (...) and the willingness to effectively implement our solidarity". Access to health services remains extremely difficult: In district hospitals and health centers, administrative, logistical and financial barriers, as well as discrimination, make access to health care "almost virtual" for the Burmese....
Palestinian NGOs have been inundated with international assistance beginning with the September 1993 declaration of principle and yet, have managed to benefit from it without passively accepting the ideologies underlying such aid. The Palestinians have understood, integrated and re-used to their advantage the concepts of transparency, responsibility and legitimacy, all qualities which the NGOs rightly or wrongly demand in exchange. As a means of avoiding state interference, some large aid recipients use their international benefactors to relay criticisms of the Palestinian Authority.
Threats posed by new, emerging or re-emerging communicable diseases are taking a global dimension, to which the World Health Organization (WHO) Secretariat has been responding with determination since 1995. Key to the global strategy for tackling epidemics across borders is the concept of global public health surveillance, which has been expanded and formalized by WHO and its technical partners through a number of recently developed instruments and initiatives.