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Cover Security Studies: Critical Perspectives

13. Health  

Sara E. Davies

This chapter describes the increasingly prominent representation of health as a security issue. It begins by presenting the ‘origin’ story of health security that has led to the contemporary practices we see today in the WHO and UN Security Council. The chapter then looks at the different approaches to health security—namely, human security and national security—and considers why security is mobilized to respond to health issues. The focus here is on public health events and their location (regions and borders). The chapter also examines who the ‘peoples’ to be protected from the dangers of health security are. The COVID-19 pandemic reveals that despite a rapidly emerging global public health threat endangering everyone, with some more exposed to harm than others, the response was not equitable and reinforced existing hierarchies.