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Global health context for the military in Defence Engagement (Health)
  1. Sue Foley1,
  2. T Falconer Hall2,
  3. D Bates3 and
  4. K Attridge4
  1. 1 Medical Operational Support Unit (MOSU), British Army, York, UK
  2. 2 AMS Support Unit, Army Medical Services, Camberley, UK
  3. 3 Institute of Health, University of Cumbria, Carlisle, UK
  4. 4 Public Health, Royal Air Force Medical Service, Naphill, UK
  1. Correspondence to LtCol Sue Foley, Medical Operational Support Unit (MOSU), British Army, York, YO32 5SW, UK; 148odams{at}


Global health practice is becoming a key enabler within UK Defence and foreign policy. The definition of global health remains debated, though some important themes have been identified including: the multidisciplinary nature of global health, its ethical foundation and the political nature of global health. This paper contributes to the ongoing rational discourse that this important discipline deserves and recommends a framework and principles to apply to military health and care system strengthening in the Defence Engagement (Health) (DE(H)) practitioner role. DE(H) involves complex multiorganisational relationships and processes, and while practitioners should be mindful of the political nature of their role, the broad aims of preventing conflict and building stability mean DE(H) should contribute positively to global health.

This paper forms part of a special issue of BMJ Military Health dedicated to Defence Engagement.

  • International health services
  • Organisational development
  • EDUCATION & TRAINING (see Medical Education & Training)

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  • Contributors SF contributed to the authorship of the sections on health and human security and the overall paper, its editing, primary submission and resubmission. TFH authored the main sections on transnational health issues including communicable disease and pandemics and public health (population-based prevention). DB contributed to the authorship of the health and human security section of the paper. KA authored the global health systems (including military health systems) of the paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.