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Disease Diplomacy

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Disease Disaster Diplomacy

Disease Eradication

The World Health Organization (WHO) runs disease control programmes which require cooperation from all countries. could the focus on health outcomes rather than diplomatic outcomes lead to as much success as possible for these programmes? Irrespective, have any linkages and networks developed through disease eradication led to non-disease-related diplomatic connections? Are there any non-WHO transboundary disease eradication programmes?

General Resources

  • Henderson, D.A. 1999. "Eradication: Lessons From the Past". MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report), vol. 48, supplement 1 (31 December), pp. 16-22.

Dracunculiasis (Guinea worm disease)

Dracunculiasis was targeted for eradication in 1986.

  • Hopkins, D.R. and E. Ruiz-Tiben. 1991. "Strategies for Dracunculiasis Eradication". Bulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 69, no. 5, pp. 533-540.

  • MMWR. 2002. "Progress Toward Global Dracunculiasis Eradication, June 2002". MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report), vol. 51, no. 26 (13 September), pp. 810-811.

  • MMWR. 2004. "Progress Toward Global Eradication of Dracunculiasis, 2002-2003". MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report), vol. 53, no. 37 (24 September), pp. 871-872.

  • MMWR. 2008. "Progress Toward Global Eradication of Dracunculiasis, January 2007-June 2008". MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report), vol. 57, no. 43 (31 October), pp. 1173-1176.

  • Supplementary Agenda Item: Eradication of Dracunculiasis. 2004 (18 May). From the Fifty-Seventh World Health Assembly, Agenda Item 12.16, A57/33. WHO (World Health Organization), Geneva, Switzerland.

  • WHO. 2002. "Dracunculiasis eradication". Weekly Epidemiological Record, vol. 77, no. 18 (3 May), pp. 143-152.

  • WHO. 2003. "Dracunculiasis eradication". Weekly Epidemiological Record, vol. 78, no. 18 (2 May), pp. 146-155.

  • WHO. 2004. "Dracunculiasis eradication". Weekly Epidemiological Record, vol. 79, no. 16 (16 April), pp. 154-155.


  • MMWR. 2008. "Progress in Global Measles Control and Mortality Reduction, 2000-2007". MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report), vol. 57, no. 48 (5 December), pp. 1303-1306.


  • Giay, L. 2001. "Rotary International Builds Partnership for Better World Health". Global Issues, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 20-22. PolioPlus

  • MMWR. 2006. "Resurgence of Wild Poliovirus Type 1 Transmission and Consequences of Importation -- 21 Countries, 2002--2005". MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report), vol. 55, no. 6 (17 February), pp. 145-150.


Smallpox was declared eradicated on 8 May 1980.

  • Barrett, S. 2003. "Diplomacy vs Disease: The History of Smallpox Eradication Shows How Diplomatic Strategies Could Help Tackle Worldwide Infectious Disease". SAISPHERE, 2003, pp. 25-27.

Comment on this case study.

Health Diplomacy
(Pre-disaster and post-disaster)

Disease is one subset of health, but all health topics can be linked to diplomatic efforts. "Health Diplomacy" tends to refer to diplomatic efforts to enact international health measures, which could include examples of such efforts leading to non-health diplomatic outcomes.

  • Aginam, O. 2003. "The Nineteenth Century Colonial Fingerprints on Public Health Diplomacy: A Postcolonial View". Law, Social Justice and Global Development, vol. 1, http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/lgd/2003_1/aginam

  • Ansari, N. 2013. "Global-health diplomacy: the social determinants perspective of health approach and the future global policy agenda". College of Arts & Sciences Senior Honors Theses, Paper 4. University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.

  • Araya, N. and J.S. Barbara. 2008. Peace through health: How health professionals can work for a less violent world. Kumarian Press, Sterling, Virginia, U.S.A.

  • Barbara, J.S. and G. MacQueen. 2004. "Peace Through Health: Key Concepts". Lancet, vol. 364, 24 July, pp. 384-386.

  • Cahill, K.M. 1997. "Health and foreign policy: an American view". Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, vol. 91, no. 7, pp. 735-41.
    From the abstract: "Emphasising health issues can offer an innovative approach to the resolution of apparently intractable problems. Identifying the common concerns, of even the most bitter enemies, can provide an initial basis for dialogue and lead to diplomatic initiatives."

  • Callaway, D.M. 2010. "Disaster Diplomacy: Medicine's role in promoting peace and security". Disaster Medicine Section Newsletter, American College of Emergency Physicians, vol. 19, no. 3, https://apps.acep.org/ACEPmembership.aspx?id=49172#story3

  • Casscells, S.W. and E. Noji. 2005 (1 December). "Avian Influenza and SARS - Global Challenges for Health Diplomacy". Discussion at Baker Hall, Rice University, Houston, Texas, U.S.A., sponsored by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.

  • CDC. c. 2000. National Program on the Communicable Disease Control. CDC (Center for Disease Control), Taiwan
    From this document (Part 4, Four-year outlook): "Internationalization: To aggressively promote an epidemic prevention diplomacy by actively participating global epidemic prevention-related organizations and conferences for securing various global cooperation and exchange venues by which foreign epidemic prevention experience may be absorbed for improving local epidemic prevention efficiency."

  • CDC. 2005 (27 October). Health Protection Goals. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
    From this document (p. 3): "Healthy People in a Healthy World--People around the world will live safer, healthier and longer lives through health promotion, health protection, and health diplomacy...“Health Diplomacy”: CDC and the United States Government will be a trusted and effective resource for health development and health protection around the globe (e.g., collaboration on pandemic influenza planning with World Health Organization and health officials in other governments)."

  • Chang, C.F. 2002. "Disease and Its Impact on Politics, Diplomacy, and the Military: The Case of Smallpox and the Manchus (1613-1795)". Journal of the History of Medicine, vol. 57, April, pp. 177-197.

  • Feldbaum, H., K. Lee, and J. Michaud. 2010. "Global Health and Foreign Policy". Epidemiologic Reviews, vol. 32, pp. 82-92.

  • Fidler, D.P. 2001. "The globalization of public health: the first 100 years of international health diplomacy". Bulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 79, no. 9, pp. 842-849.

  • Health as a Bridge for Peace (HBP) run by the World Health Organization (WHO). The programme aims "to strengthen the returns of the health sector investments in areas affected by conflict or undergoing a post conflict transition. These returns cover a vast array of objectives going from the reduction of social violence to actual peace making." See also:

    • Galtung, J. 1997. Health as a Bridge for Peace in the Context of Humanitarian Action in Complex Emergency Situations. Prepared for the Division of Emergency and Humanitarian Action, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

  • Health of Border Populations run by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). A 9 September 2003 press release states:

             The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has developed special programs for border populations, helping create healthy spaces in poor areas often left behind in of their countries’ social agendas.
             "The border populations historically have been the most neglected," said Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, director of PAHO.
    While economic problems are being addressed by identifying economic development districts in border areas, border cities are often left behind with respect to health issues. They have less basic infrastructure than other cities and less access to health services.
             In some cases, border areas also have higher rates of diseases such as hepatitis A, tuberculosis or diabetes than the national averages.
             "These cities form a third space; they have their own identity, apart from the national identity. Even though in many cases there are enormous cultural and language differences, there is a border identity that should be respected. At the same time we can take this opportunity to create healthy spaces and bi-national or tri-national health plans," she said.
             One very good example is the sanitation work carried out in the Zarumillas canal, on the border between Peru and Ecuador, which contributed to peace between the two countries," Roses recalled.
             The work is broad. "Previously, the border was considered the gate of entry for diseases, the vulnerable point for health risks. Now, we know that viruses enter through airports," Roses said.
             To improve health in border cities, PAHO works on several fronts:

    • Reduce stigmatization through joint efforts

    • Develop health promotion programs

    • Promote the development of service networks

    • Achieve continuity and consistency of epidemiological surveillance and treatment in sister cities, especially for communicable diseases as tuberculosis or AIDS

    An example of PAHO-supported joint effort was the first Vaccination Week in the Americas last June, when health professionals and communities participated in immunization days along 10 borders in more than 20 cities.
             PAHO is also working on new cooperation strategies and public and private partnerships to develop regional capacities and promote healthy spaces on the border between Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, as well as the borders between Guatemala, Belize and Mexico; between Costa Rica and Nicaragua; and in the border cities of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.
             Since 1942, with the creation of its U.S.-Mexico Border Field Office in El Paso, Texas, PAHO has been working to improve health conditions in the 10 states that share the border between the United States and Mexico.

  • Iglehart, J.K. 2004. "Advocating For Medical Diplomacy: A Conversation With Tommy G. Thompson". Health Affairs (Web Exclusive), 4 May, pp. W4-262-W4-268.

  • Kassalow, J.S. 2001. Why Health is Important to U.S. Foreign Policy. Council on Foreign Relations, 19 April, New York and Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

  • Kassalow, J.S. and D.M. Fox. 2001. "Making Health a Priority for US Foreign Policy". World Health News, 26 October.

  • Katz, R., S. Kornblet, G. Arnold, and E. Lief, and J.E. Fischer. 2011. "Defining Health Diplomacy: Changing Demands in the Era of Globalization". The Milbank Quarterly, vol. 89, no. 3, pp. 503-523.

  • Kevany, S. 2014. "Global Health Diplomacy, 'Smart Power', and the New World Order". Global Public Health, vol. 9, no. 7, pp. 787-807.

  • Licina, D. 2011. "Disaster Preparedness--Formalizing a Comparative Advantage for the Department of Defense in U.S. Global Health and Foreign Policy". Military Medicine, vol. 176, no. 11, pp. 1207-1211.

  • Licina, D. 2013. "Hospital ships adrift? Part 1: A systematic literature review characterizing US navy hospital ship humanitarian and disaster response, 2004-2012". Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 230-238.

  • Licina, D., S. Mookherji, G. Migliaccio, and C. Ringer. 2013. "Hospital ships adrift? Part 2: The role of U.S. Navy hospital ship humanitarian assistance missions in building partnerships". Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, vol. 28, no. 6, pp. 592-604.

  • North Korea case study.

  • Novotny T.E. 2006. "US Department of Health and Human Services: A Need for Global Health Leadership in Preparedness and Health Diplomacy". American Journal of Public Health, vol. 96, no. 1, pp. 11-13.

  • Pedersen, J. 2009. Health and Conflict: A review of the links. Fafo-report 2009:2. FAFO, Oslo, Norway.

  • Ratzen, S.C. 2005. "Beyond the 2004 Tsunami: Health Diplomacy as a Response". Journal of Health Communication, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 197-198.

  • Rhinard, M. 2009. "European Cooperation on Future Crises: Toward a Public Good?". Review of Policy Research, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 439-455.

  • Skinner, H., Z. Abdeen, H. Abdeen, P. Aber, M. Al-Masri, J. Attias, K.B. Avraham, R. Carmi, C. Chalin, Z. El Nasser, M. Hijazi, R.O. Jebara, M. Kanaan, H. Pratt, F. Raad, Y. Roth, A.P. Williams, and A. Noyek. 2005. Promoting Arab and Israeli cooperation: Peacebuilding through health initiatives. The Lancet, vol. 365, no. 9466, pp. 1274-1277.

  • Thompson, D. 2005. "China’s Soft Power In Africa: From The “Beijing Consensus” To Health Diplomacy". China Brief, vol. V, issue 21 (13 October), pp. 1-4.

  • Vass, A. 2001. "Peace Through Health: Medical Students Have a Part to Play". Student BMJ, vol. 9, pp. 444-445.

  • Vass, A. 2001. "Peace through health: This new movement needs evidence, not just ideology". BMJ, vol. 323, no. 7320, p. 1020.

  • Whitehead School of Diplomacy's Global Health Initiative exists "to examine global health issues from a foreign policy and national security perspective".

Comment on this case study.

Transboundary Disease Surveillance and Control
(Including quarantine, pandemics, and epidemics.)

General Resources

  • Aginam, O. 2002. "International law and communicable diseases". Bulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 80, vol. 12, pp. 946-951.

  • Doyle, R.J. and N.C. Lee. 1986. "Microbes, warfare, religion, and human institutions". Canadian Journal of Microbiology, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 193-200.

  • Enserink, M. 2003 (2 May). "Infectious Diseases: WHO Wants 21st-Century Reporting Regs". Science, Vol. 300. no. 5620, pp. 717-718.

  • Hardiman, M. 2003. "The revised International Health Regulations: a framework for global health security". International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, vol. 21, issue 2, pp. 207-211.

  • International Health Regulations. 2005 (23 May). From the Fifty-Eighth World Health Assembly, Agenda Item 13.1, Third Report of Committee A, A58/55. WHO (World Health Organization), Geneva, Switzerland.

  • Suk, J.E., T. Van Cangh, J. Beauté, C. Bartels, S. Tsolova, A. Pharris, M. Ciotti, and J.C. Semenza. 2014. "The interconnected and cross-border nature of risks posed by infectious diseases". Global Health Action, 7: 25287 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/gha.v7.25287

Avian Flu


Foodborne Disease

  • Käferstein, F.K., Y. Motarjemi, and D.W. Bettcher. 1997. "Foodborne disease control: A transnational challenge". Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 3, no. 4, October-December 1997, pp. 503-510.
    From the abstract: "This article analyzes the role of foodborne disease surveillance programs, nationally and internationally, in the control of foodborne diseases."


  • Anderson, J. and H. Spek. 2004. "HIV/AIDS and Security". GSC Quarterly, vol. 12, Spring.

  • CFR. 2005. HIV and National Security. Transcript from a panel discussion, 18 July, CFR (Council on Foreign Relations), New York and Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

  • Garrett, L. 2005. HIV and National Security: Where are the Links? Council on Foreign Relations), New York and Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

  • "Health Systems for HIV/AIDS and Other Diseases". 2001. Global Issues, vol. 6, no. 3.

  • Roberts, L. 2004. "Disease Diplomacy: The Inherent Paradox of Globalization and AIDS". Atlantic International Studies Journal, vol. 1, spring, pp. 73-88.


  • Mohrman, K. 2003. "Diplomacy in Action at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center". SAISPHERE, 2003, pp. 47-49.

Comment on this case study.

    Vaccine Diplomacy

  • Broder, S., S.L. Hoffman, and P.J. Hotez. 2001. "Cures for the Third World's problems". EMBO Reports, vol. 3, no. 9, pp. 806-812.

  • Hotez, P.J. 2001. "Vaccines as Instruments of Foreign Policy". EMBO Reports, vol. 2, no. 10, pp. 862-868.

  • Hotez, P.J. 2001. "Vaccine Diplomacy". Foreign Policy, May/June, pp. 68-69.

  • Hotez, P.J. 2004. "The Promise of Medical Science and Biotechnology for North Korea and the Relevance of U.S. 'Vaccine Diplomacy'". Korea Society Quarterly, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 15-18.

  • Hotez, P.J. 2010. "Peace Through Vaccine Diplomacy". Science, vol. 327, no. 5971, p. 1301.

  • Hotez, P.J. 2014. "The NTDs and Vaccine Diplomacy in Latin America: Opportunities for United States Foreign Policy". PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 8, no. 9, e2922, http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0002922

  • Hotez, P.J. 2014. "'Vaccine Diplomacy': Historical Perspectives and Future Directions". PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 8, no. 6, e2808, http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0002808

  • Hotez, P.J. and T.G. Thompson. 2009. "Waging Peace through Neglected Tropical Disease Control: A US Foreign Policy for the Bottom Billion". PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 3, no. 1, e346.

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