Muscat – The Global Health and Peace Initiative (GHPI), which was proposed by Oman in partnership with Switzerland and World Health Organization (WHO), was endorsed at the conclusion of the meeting of the 154th session of the WHO Executive Board on January 25.
Oman took part in the meeting with an official delegation headed by H E Dr Hilal bin Ali al Sabti, Minister of Health.
GHPI was approved after five years of extensive work, which is credited to the sultanate, consolidating the government’s approach to achieve the principle of peace among all countries. ‘This step will be followed by several others to implement this initiative into reality,’ the Ministry of Health stated.
The initiative seeks to strengthen and activate the link between health, social cohesion and peace by focusing on the important role that public health programmes play in bringing together different groups and building confidence. The initiative will contribute to enhancing resilience and confidence at the level of local communities, population and governments.
GHPI encourages and supports the development of health programmes that take into account peace and conflict dynamics in fragile or conflict-affected settings and contribute to peace and social cohesion with stakeholders and other partners.
WHO has long recognised the vital and central role of fostering and promoting peace through health. In a joint effort by Oman, Switzerland and the Regional Director of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, the Health for Peace Initiative (HPI) was launched in 2019. This landmark event took place in Geneva and was attended by more than 50 representatives of 24 WHO member states and partners.
Member states of other regions expressed their willingness to join the initiative and consequently it was renamed the Global Health for Peace Initiative. A follow-up meeting hosted by Oman in May 2021 emphasised the need to formalise a structural framework for the initiative, which was presented at the 150th session of the WHO Executive Board.
GHPI was developed as a means to better address the underlying drivers of critical health needs in fragile, conflict-affected and vulnerable settings, since roughly 80% of WHO’s humanitarian caseload, as well as 70% of disease outbreaks that WHO responds to, take place in such settings.
It helps to address social determinants of health in these settings, where people’s health is negatively affected by factors such as conflict, displacement, marginalisation and poverty, which aggravate existing inequalities and vulnerabilities.