Health as a Human Right? – University of Copenhagen

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Global Health > Open events > Archive 2013 > Health as a Human Right?

Health as a Human Right?

How to deliver in a context of conflict and fragility

Copenhagen School of Global Health and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs are pleased to invite researchers and practitioners to a two-day international workshop ‘Health as a Human Right? How to deliver in the context of conflict and fragility’, held on 20-21 February 2013.

Photo by Jeanett Ravn. Guinean nurse during vaccination campaign in an IDP camp, Guinea-Bissau, 1998

The aim of the workshop is to address the challenges of health care delivery in environments where the state is absent or withdrawn from key functions. The workshop is based on the findings from a research programme hosted by the University of Queensland and funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Six country studies (Afghanistan, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Haiti, Palestine, and Somalia) were carried out in the period 2010-2012 examining the ways health systems react, adapt and evolve in response to total or partial state failure, and the responses developed by national and international stakeholders to such challenges. Rather than discovering new aspects the research aimed at throwing a fresh look at neglected issues, and at re-interpreting supposedly-understood ones. Looking ‘beyond the aid horizon’ induced the reappraisal of each studied healthcare arena, and the recognition of patterns previously ignored or misunderstood.

The country studies point to several overarching issues, which deserve further investigation, both in analytical depth as well as in the range of distressed countries. Based on the country studies, six overarching themes have been chosen for further discussions and group work. These themes seem to play a vital role in health care provision in counties in a context of conflict and fragility. Consequently, they could point towards future entry points for support to service delivery.

The themes include:

  • Role of the Diaspora in domestic health care provision
  • New Technologies of Information and Communication
  • Health systems’ adaptive capacity
  • Trans-border healthcare provision
  • The role of the private sector in health care provision
  • Access to pharmaceuticals (with emphasis on business and criminal aspects)


The aim of the workshop is to present latest evidence-based knowledge and disseminate this knowledge through different channels to decision makers, practitioners and the wider public, which is expected to contribute to the strengthening of international activities in the field. The workshop will use the findings from the six country study reports that are largely descriptive. Crosscutting thematic ‘State of the Art’ reports are being prepared based on the above mentioned overarching themes. These papers will provide the starting point for discussions in the parallel working group sessions.

The Danish Minister for Development Cooperation will deliver the opening speech. This will be followed by presentations from the researchers and feedback on the six country studies by an expert panel. In the afternoon, parallel thematic sessions will take place. Each session will start by the author’s presentation of the respective thematic paper, followed by a discussion. The group-rapporteur will make a presentation of the group’s findings in the concluding plenary session. The workshop findings will be collected and incorporated into the thematic papers as well as disseminated through different media, e.g briefings, newspaper articles and scientific papers.

>> View the programme


  • Tania Dræbel, Copenhagen School of Global Health
    Tel: +45 41 61 79 98

  • Pia Pannula Toft, Copenhagen School of Global Health
    Tel: +45 21 55 41 53