Pursuit of Peace

In the wake of the another anniversary of the start of war in Iraq and continuing conflicts in other regions of the world, APHA reaffirms its historic mission of promoting the public’s health and its opposition to military actions that run counter to promoting and protecting the health and well-being of people and the environment. War affects human health both directly -- through the violence of bombs and bullets -- and indirectly -- by disrupting economic and social systems that address health needs. We believe that war is a public health problem and that the role of health workers in preventing conflict and limiting its destructiveness is critical. Peace building and prevention are beginning to be viewed as important public health objectives. "Peace through Health" initiatives in Croatia, Afghanistan and Iraq are defining the consequences of war, and outlining principles for action that not only respond to the immediate needs of people in war-torn areas, but may ultimately help to prevent future conflicts.