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2024 Theme

Navigating Turbulent Times: Health System Resilience in Armed Conflict  

The 2024 SheffWHO World Health Assembly simulation addresses the urgent theme of "Navigating Turbulent Times: Health Systems Resilience in Armed Conflict." With a record high of over 55 armed conflicts worldwide in 2022, affecting over a billion people and displacing more than 60 million, the strain on health systems is unprecedented. This simulation will explore the resilience of health systems—how they can maintain critical services, adapt to emergencies, and transform amidst conflict. Focus areas include leadership, the health workforce, and the continuity of vital health services. The goal is to devise strategies to bolster health system resilience, ensure continuous healthcare delivery, and protect healthcare workers in conflict zones, steering towards a future where health systems withstand and thrive amid crises.

Our Sub-Themes

This year, the SheffWHO Simulation Conference will explore health systems resilience amidst armed conflict through the following sub-themes:


Sub-theme 1: International Response and Health Governance

In the face of armed conflicts that disrupt health systems globally, the imperative for effective international response and health governance has never been more critical. This sub-theme explores the crucial role of global governance and international collaborations in responding to health challenges in conflict-affected areas. As conflicts prolong and devastate communities, local responses alone fall short. The resilience of health systems is deeply connected to the capacity of international health bodies and networks to support crisis response efforts. This discussion will focus on evaluating the effectiveness of international responses and health governance frameworks in enhancing the resilience of health systems amidst the complexities of armed conflicts.

Sub-theme 2: Essential Health Services Continuity

Armed conflicts pose severe threats to the continuity of essential healthcare services, exacerbating the vulnerability of populations and further straining health systems. This sub-theme addresses the critical importance of maintaining uninterrupted provision of primary health care, sexual and reproductive health, and maternal and child health services during conflicts. Strategies to ensure the continuity of these essential services are vital for nations not only to withstand immediate shocks but also to prepare proactively for future challenges. The discussion will shed light on innovative approaches and best practices for preserving essential health services in the most turbulent times.

Sub-theme 3: Humanitarian Health Workforce

The humanitarian health workforce embodies the frontline defence in maintaining health services during armed conflicts. These dedicated professionals face unprecedented challenges, from direct threats to their safety to the logistical hurdles that impede service delivery. This sub-theme delves into the challenges and opportunities facing the humanitarian health workforce in conflict zones. Emphasising the protection, support, and empowerment of health workers is essential to ensuring their capacity to provide critical services. Discussions will focus on strategies to mitigate the risks faced by health workers and to enhance their role in building resilient health systems in the face of armed conflict.

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