26 Oct 2023 17:00 - 19:00 Online & Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge


An event by the Healthcare in Conflict research network.


  • Dorien Braam (Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge)
  • Charlotte Hammer (Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge


Dr Dorien Braam
Trade-offs in One Health: the role of animals in health and disease in complex emergencies.’

Complex emergencies are characterized by environmental breakdown and the disintegration of state services, including health, increasing disease risk. Out of public health concern, animals are often excluded from emergency responses. As many complex emergencies occur in areas where people are highly dependent on their animals, this has direct implications for food security, nutrition, livelihoods and mental health. Those most at risk often lack the power, resources and opportunities to respond, while humanitarian responses are developed and led by stakeholders in global minority countries, ignoring the central role of animals in affected people’s lives. The importance of the interdisciplinary One Health approach in addressing animal, ecosystem, and human health is increasingly recognized, however remains human-centred and positivist, and rarely addresses underlying social and structural drivers of disaster and disease. There is an urgent need for more equitable and inclusive approaches to enhance understanding of the processes determining multi-species disease dynamics.

Dr Charlotte Hammer
‘Epidemiological No-Man’s-Land’: Crises driving outbreaks and outbreaks driving crises in situations of limited humanitarian access’.

Humanitarian emergencies create spaces of impeded humanitarian access and infectious disease control, which further exacerbate the vicious circle of crisis and outbreak. This paper delineates how such ‘Epidemiological No-Man’s-Lands’ develop in these inaccessible spatialities of crisis-driven outbreaks and how this further aggravates the entanglement of humanitarian crises and infectious disease outbreaks in the geopolitics of failed or failing states. It argues that the reasons for infectious disease outbreaks, both in general and especially in humanitarian emergencies, go beyond a mere question of biology and geography. It is not just an individual’s or group’s characteristics, questions of demography and exposure to disease risk, that lead to rises in infectious diseases in humanitarian emergencies. Looking at disease control efforts in such settings, it argues that understanding and responding to the underlying humanitarian emergency becomes as important to preventing and controlling disease outbreaks as traditional biomedical interventions concluding that any humanitarian response in such settings has to accommodate for crises driving outbreaks and outbreaks driving crises and must draw on an interdisciplinary approach for disease control and crisis response to promote conditions which are less advantageous to infectious diseases and disease outbreaks. 

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