Improving Health in Challenging Environments

There is growing recognition that health plays a key role in stabilizing and rebuilding the world’s most troubled nations—those that have been ravaged by years of conflict, disease, poverty, and natural disasters.

In times of crisis, health systems are battered by violence, poor governance, lack of funding, and loss of infrastructure. Where people no longer have access to adequate health services, mortality and morbidity rates increase dramatically.

At MSH we believe that, despite the challenges, societies can move forward and health can be made a top priority. This year's Annual Report highlights the organization’s contributions to improving health and saving lives in some of the world’s most difficult environments, including Afghanistan, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Haiti, and Mindanao in the Philippines. Driven by the urgency of situations in fragile states, MSH’s distinctive approach focuses on five broad areas of action:

  • Synergies – coordinating large-scale responses for long-term impact
  • Priorities – serving the most vulnerable populations
  • Communities – working with local leaders
  • Capacity – strengthening health systems to deliver results
  • People – building human resources for health

Health Plays a Key Role in Stabilizing Societies

Declining health can have lasting negative effects on a country. Illness and disease deplete the workforce, diminish earning power, burden families with caring for the sick, and erode trust in the government. As recent events testify, the fallout from conflicts and natural disaster can also spill across borders, undermining and overburdening neighboring states and creating regional or global security risks.

Health, security, political, economic, and social stability are pillars of a strong society. Healthy people are able to work effectively, care for their families, and contribute to community life. Improvements in health play an important role in arresting the decline of vulnerable states, reestablishing families and communities, and building governance and effective local leadership.

Rising to the Challenge

Building on more than thirty years of international experience, MSH serves as a catalyst for public and private partners who are committed to improving health and saving lives in challenging environments.