The Politics of Health Security

Authored by: João Nunes

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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Security is now a central dimension of the global governance of health. Explicit articulations of the health–security nexus can be traced back to the post-WWII period when the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) presented health as a basic principle of the “security of all peoples” (Harman 2011: 20). Nonetheless, recent years have witnessed a new sense of urgency to the connection between health and security. The United States of America has a National Health Security Strategy (United States Department of Health and Human Services 2009) based upon the assumption of an “interdependent relationship between national security, homeland security, and national health security.” The European Commission has its own Health Security Committee, equipped with “mechanisms and tools for Europe-wide coordination of prevention, preparedness and response to health security threats” (Commission of the European Communities 2009: 3). The WHO is now part of a Global Health Security Initiative aimed at strengthening preparedness and response to threats of biological, chemical, radio-nuclear terrorism, and pandemic influenza.

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