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Cover Poverty and Development

6. Diseases of Poverty  

Melissa Parker and Cristin Fergus

This chapter assesses what the diseases of poverty are. Infectious diseases of poverty are widespread in low-income countries. As a result, under-five child mortality is often higher and life expectancy lower in these countries, compared with middle- and high-income countries. There are long standing disagreements about the most effective way to combat diseases of poverty in low-income countries. In particular, there is an enduring debate about whether selective biomedical interventions (such as deworming for neglected tropical diseases) should be the main focus of public health programmes or whether the most effective way forward is to develop a comprehensive approach which strengthens all levels of the health system, including primary health care units, while simultaneously improving access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Many populations no longer live in abject poverty, and the causes of death and disability have changed from infectious diseases to non communicable diseases. These changes are often described as an epidemiological transition. However, it has also been noted that a transitional period frequently occurs in which populations experience the 'double burden' of long standing infectious diseases alongside chronic, non communicable diseases.


Cover Contemporary Security Studies

26. Health and Security  

Stefan Elbe and Eva Hilberg

What threat can diseases pose to security? The sheer breadth of possible answers to this question has become increasingly evident during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, which was caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This chapter explores three such links between health and security. First, some diseases are identified as threats to human security. The human security framework draws particular attention to diseases—such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis—that remain endemic in many low-income countries, that continue to cause millions of deaths annually, and that also pose substantial challenges to the survival and well-being of individuals and communities. Second, some emerging infectious diseases—such as SARS, pandemic flu, Ebola, and COVID-19—are identified as threats to national security because their rapid spread can cause high death tolls and trigger significant economic disruption. Finally, some diseases are also identified as narrower threats to bio-security within the context of international efforts to combat terrorism. Here concerns have focused on the spectre of a terrorist attack using a disease-causing biological agent such as anthrax, smallpox, or plague. The chapter concludes by contrasting two different ways of understanding this health–security nexus: as an instance of securitization or medicalization.


Cover Strategy in the Contemporary World

21. A New Agenda for Security and Strategy?  

James J. Wirtz

This chapter considers a range of issues that have often been neglected in national security agendas or perceived to be outside the purview of strategy. During the cold war, national security agendas were dominated by high politics, whereas low politics were rarely seen as a threat to national security. In the aftermath of the cold war, however, low politics started to garner more attention than high politics. This chapter proposes a conceptual framework based on a utilitarian assessment of environmental, resource, and population issues to determine whether there is a new agenda for security and strategy. It also examines how divergent demographic trends will shape strategy and strategic thinking, and goes on to discuss commons problems, the direct environmental damage caused by military action, the spread of infectious diseases such as measles and Covid-19, and how countries are beginning to exhibit sensitivities and vulnerabilities to issues of low politics.