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Medical civil–military interactions on United Nations missions: lessons from South Sudan


This paper outlines the United Nations’ integrated response to complex humanitarian emergencies and the different types of interactions that may occur between militaries and civilian organisations involved in them. It uses a recent UK deployment to South Sudan as an example, drawing on the experience to highlight areas of particular interest to healthcare workers. It identifies several domains that should usefully be developed for both civilians and military personnel in these environments—including sharing our expertise in major incident management, proof-of-concept testing for novel diagnostic and treatment solutions and offering to engage in joint continuing medical education. These gaps in organisational policy should be addressed and appropriate training pathways designed to maximise the contribution of the Defence Medical Services in similar contexts in the future.

  • civil-military
  • humanitarian
  • defence engagement
  • United Nations
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