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News release, 27th January 2011

European health groups launch Medical Peace Work courses



European health groups launched today seven freely available, interactive online courses in violence prevention and peacebuilding. The aim of the courses is to educate health professionals about the impact of war and other forms of violence on the health of individuals and populations, and to show how they can make a positive and particular contribution to peace building, violence prevention and conflict transformation. The courses provide the participants with new insights about the special role and responsibility of healthcare professionals in peace work.

Renowned health professionals such as Bernard Lown, inventor of the defillibrator and founder of the Nobel peace prize winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, speak out for Medical Peace Work: “The doctor cannot ignore the issues of peace and war.There is no greater pathogen than war. So why do you worry about tuberculosis, malaria, shistosomiasis, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, but when it comes to war you don’t want to talk about it.“

The courses, which will be promoted worldwide, were developed by 19 organizations from Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Turkey and the UK. They are not only designed for health professionals and students who wish to do humanitarian or development work or who want to work with human rights or medical peace organizations; these courses are valuable for all health workers, no matter where they work and live.  The course issues range therefore from suicide and interpersonal violence prevention to the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Dr Klaus Melf from the Health Department of the County Governor in Troms, Norway, says “It is vital that doctors and other health professionals understand how people are affected – both physically and psychologically – by power abuse and war. Many health professionals want to do more than simply patch up the wounded.  They want to get to grips with the underlying issues and do everything they can to prevent violence and achieve peace”.
To access the courses, go to www.medicalpeacework.org 

For more information about the courses, contact
Dr Klaus Melf,  +47 -91 76 15 91 , County Governor in Troms
Marion Birch  + +44 20 7324 4735,  Medact 

Note to editors
The course topics are: Health workers, conflict and peace, Medicine, health and human rights, War, weapons and conflict strategies, Structural violence & root causes of violent conflict,, Peace through Health in violent conflict, Refugee and migration challenges, Prevention of interpersonal and self-directed violence. They were developed by: Croatian Medical Journal , Finnish Psychologists for Social Responsibility , Global Doctors, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey,  Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia, International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organisations, IPPNW Germany, Johannes Wier Foundation, Medact, Norwegian Centre for Telemedicine, Nor-wegian Medical Association, Nuremberg Clinic, NVMP Gezondheidszorg en Vredesvraagstukken, University of Bergen, University of Bradford, University College London, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, University of Tromsø, County Governor in Troms
The Medical Peace Work online courses were developed with support from the European Commission.


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