Health as a Bridge for Peace: Theory, Practice and Prognosis — Reflections of a Practitioner
This article explores the nature of the relationship between Health as a Bridge for Peace (HBP) projects and the political contexts in which they are implemented. HBP projects derive from the intersections of the health and conflict fields, which may be formulated in one of two ways: the effect of the conflict on the practice of health care; and/or the use of the health field in the transformation of conflict. Projects carried out under the ‘health as a bridge for peace’ banner encompass a wide range of goals, target populations and project components, which vary based on factors such as local conditions and the initiating party. This paper offers two typologies for understanding HBP projects. It shows that while HBP projects are not a substitute for political processes, the relationships and the values they generate can serve as an important bridge during periods of conflict when the political processes are at their weakest point.