270477 Health and human security in the Arab world: Towards a context-relevant approach

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 9:15 AM - 9:30 AM

Omar Dewachi, MBChB, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Samer Jabbour, MD, MPH , Department of Health Management and Policy, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Nasser Yassin, PhD , Faculty of Health Sciences, Outreach and Practice Unit, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Iman Nuwayhid, MD, DrPH , Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Rita Giacaman, PharmD, MPhil , Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University, Birzeit, Palestine
The 2009 Arab Human Development Report argued for the adoption of human security as the framework for a better understanding of the social, political, and economic conditions in the Arab world. This caused uproar in the intellectual circles in the region warning of “securitizing” people's rights. In this paper, we examine the implications of the human security concept and framework on public health research and advocacy in the Arab world and argue for an option to critically adopt this concept to advance health issues in certain contexts. We explore the social and political meanings associated with the notion of “threats” to human security and protection and identify that there is insufficient understanding of the relationship between health and the concept of human security in the region. We argue that human security could be deployed as a critical concept and framework by advocates of public health and social protection to address the threats to health of individuals, communities, and populations. On one hand, pervasive threats to human security, depicted as forms of structural violence, can be considered important “social” determinants of health in areas of conflict as well as in non-conflict areas. On the other hand, the application of the human security framework needs to be sensitive to local, national, and global contexts. Its use and value would depend on a better understanding of where threats are coming from, whose security we are considering, and who is providing this security.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
- Explain the concept and framework of human security through a historical lens. - Discuss the relevance of human security to public health. - Demonstrate the need for a contextually-relevant perspective on health and human security in the Arab world. - Describe threats to human security in both conflict and non-conflict areas in the Arab world. - Discuss how human security might be used by public health advocates and researchers to address the threats to health.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have contributed to the Arab Human Development Report on the subject of health and human security
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.