NGOs and Health Security

Securing the health of people living with HIV/AIDS1

Authored by: Amy S. Patterson

Routledge Handbook of Global Health Security

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  August  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415645478
eBook ISBN: 9780203078563
Adobe ISBN: 9781136155574


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While numerous studies have investigated the relationship between health and security, few have questioned how NGOs understand this linkage (Orbinski 2007). This chapter addresses this gap. It asserts that NGOs that address AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa have not utilized what William Aldis (2008) terms the “health and security” paradigm, which asserts that diseases with high morbidity and mortality rates may threaten state security. While NGOs have rejected this AIDS “securitization,” they have only partially embraced the human security perspective, despite the concept’s focus on non-state actors and its promotion of socioeconomic and political development. International NGOs have been more likely than local African NGOs working on AIDS to accept human security’s assertion that health is only one of many threats to individual security. Instead, many local NGOs have adopted a globalist viewpoint that investigates health at the individual level, and they use security-derived language to connect AIDS to food security, domestic violence, and stable access to AIDS treatment. In their arguments, they assert that the links between AIDS and other insecurities threaten the AIDS response itself.

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