Collections > Master's Papers > Gillings School of Public Health > USE OF PUBLIC HEALTH METRICS AS INDICATORS OF IMPENDING VIOLENT CONFLICT OR PEACE PROMOTION TOOLS
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The purpose of this paper is to assess the potential for the field of public health to actively contribute to violent conflict prevention by ascertaining which public health metrics may be indicative of impending violent conflict and identify examples of public health interventions being used to promote peace and reduce the risk of violence. Several public health indicators were found to be predictive of conflict and include demographic changes such as increased population density or infant mortality; large population displacement such as increases in refugees or migrants; degradation of public services like delivery of healthcare and education; malnutrition and related food shortages or lack of safe water; increased mortality and injury associated with collective violence; decreased access for women to healthcare, education and employment with concomitant increases in the sex trade and domestic violence; and in some cases, increased incidence of certain infectious diseases. There was limited evidence that public health interventions prevent conflicts or health interventions contribute to lasting peace efforts. Several potential tools can aid in conflict prevention efforts including Health Impact Assessments, health relief and development initiatives as part of peace promotion efforts, and global health diplomacy. Public health practitioners should make addressing violent conflict a public health and political priority by accurately documenting its catastrophic effects on health, aiding in prevention by building evidence regarding risk factors and effective primary prevention interventions, and collaborating with practitioners from other disciplines to study and evaluate risk assessment and primary prevention strategies. By using existing public health skills and monitoring systems, public health professionals can become true partners with other disciplines to apply public health expertise to this pressing problem.