Session 3: Solidarity Medicine

Facilitator: Dr. Alan Meyers, MD MPH

Primary Readings
For the discussion:

An excerpt from the Shapiro article:

"Because medical personnel and equipment, like most other resources, are apt to be scarce in wartime, the provision of supplementary medical aid to one of the contending forces is an obvious means by which private citizens of noncombatant nations can hope to contribute to the struggle. Such efforts will seem particularly worthwhile when those sponsoring the aid are at odds with their own nation's policy, which may range from studied neutrality to active material support for the other side.

Although humanitarian considerations are often the only concern of those providing medical aid, an additional effect of such campaigns may be anticipated: the raising of consciousness about the war in the noncombatant countries, leading to public pressure on the government to adopt a more favorable policy.

Medical aid campaigns have consumed a great deal of time and effort during such conflicts as those in Vietnam, Biafra, and El Salvador, during which much relief was provided." 

1. Can such campaigns accomplish more than the relief of suffering? 

2. Are they potentially an effective tactic for circumventing or altering government policy in times of conflict, OR would those persons among the providers of medical aid whose motivations are not just humanitarian be better advised to direct their attention and their energy to other activities?"