The United Nations was founded on the 24th of October in 1945 after the First and Second World Wars. The Organization was committed in the UN charter’s enduring words and saving the future generations from the plague of war. Since its establishment, the Organization has been called on to help in the prevention of conflicts and disputes from soaring into war (Oswald et al., 2010). It has also been called upon to persuade parties opposing each other to use the conference table instead of use of the force of arms and weapons to assist in restoration of peace when conflicts arise. Over the years, the organization has aided in containing or ending many conflicts and disputes. In many cases, this has been through the establishment of operations of peace keeping and maintenance. The peacekeeping operations have been established together with healthcare facilities to offer services that are directed at improving the health and lives of individuals.
Healthcare services of the United Nations
The work of the United Nations in the provision of healthcare services and facilities in widely recognized among the UN members. The UN’s role in the provision of healthcare services has two main dimensions. The first aspect is developing the capacity of regional, institutional, national, and international authorities to deliver these services while the second dimension is improving the communities’ capacity to make appropriate application of these services. Healthcare services by the United Nations are about building participation and improving accountability in order for individuals who benefit from healthcare services to be incorporated in the provision and planning of social services (Efird et al., 2010).
The UN is focused on strengthening local governance. Individuals at the local level are concerned with and want to see accountability, effectiveness, and efficiency in their delivery of public services. They do these through volunteerism programs that help in promoting incorporation or inclusive participation of people at the local level development cycles. The United Nations has extensive and strengthened experience in the mobilization of members of the community through the promotion of access to fundamental services and voluntary action (Heintze and Zwitter, 2011). Through various policies, the organization is essentially focused on offering primary healthcare and HIV/AIDS (Morgan, 2011). In many regions and countries across the world, increasing number of infants under the age of five die due to malnutrition and other diseases that affect their health. Chronic diseases and illnesses such as the HIV/AIDS are among the biggest threats especially for developing and less developed countries. Malaria has also become a pandemic to many countries, and the UN is focused on prevention of such diseases among people.
Some of the healthcare services that are offered by the United Nations include reproductive health, child and maternal healthcare especially on nutrition, sanitation, and health education especially on awareness of diseases such as HIV/AIDS. This has made and continues to make a huge difference by assisting communities attain access to healthcare. The health education offered educate individuals on how to prevent diseases. The United Nation is also of some of the major barriers to improving health and quality of life (UNV, 2013). It supports the provision of literacy and education on life skills services through representatives of the Organization. These enhance the effectiveness and capacity of educators. This shows that healthcare services continue even after teams of peacekeeping have left. Communities have established programs that do not only operate during times of war, but also during other times. This implies the concept of sustainability of these services.
An aspect that relates to sustainability is empowering communities to continue the healthcare services after the peacekeeping teams have left. Peace keeping missions of the United Nations are often especially in countries where conflicts are frequent. These include countries such as Somalia and Afghanistan (Philpott and Powers, 2010). As mentioned earlier, such missions come with healthcare programs and services to offer healthcare services and facilities to individuals injured during wars. Peacekeeping by the UN is not simply about maintaining peace among parties. Rather, it is also focused on improving health and quality of life of individuals. The peacekeeping mission operates on the principle of that an impartial presence at the ground level can help in easing tensions among parties to the conflict (Joseph, 2002).
The United Nations works to deliver humanitarian assistance aimed at improving the lives of people. These are aimed at stabilizing the humanitarian crises that can influence larger political crises (Gunn, 2012). This is done through the provision of health services and other humanitarian services such as the provision of food and other basic needs. Services and facilities to combat malnutrition and hunger are among the health care services offered by the peacekeeping teams that also improve individuals’ live. Particular attention is paid to vulnerable groups including children and the elderly (Patrick, 2002). The organization ensures that people have access to clean drinking water. Healthcare services are done with conjunction with various ministries of health to help mobilize individuals on how to improve their health and quality of life.
UN missions on peacekeeping are focused on empowering populations on continuing with health care services after the groups involved in the processes are left. Empowering may take different dimensions. One of these ways is through health education. People are educated on matters concerning how health and lives can be improved. This knowledge is essential because individuals are aware of how to prevent certain diseases in order to save individuals’ lives. This is made especially possible with the government assistance through the establishment of various programs and policies to assists in improving the health and quality of community members (UN. Dag Hammarskjöld Library, 2005). Empowering communities is essential to ensure that communities continue to practice the same, and this can be passed on to future generations who will also practice the same. Through this empowerment, communities have established ways of dealing with pandemic and chronic illnesses such as malaria and HIV/AIDS that are a significant challenge to communities of the developing countries. Nutrition is also improved as a result of this.
Sustainability of the UN peace keeping missions
The peace keeping missions of the United Nations touch on a majority of critical issues that affect individuals. This, therefore, implies that the missions should be long-term rather than simply intended for short term purposes. Sustainability of the UN main objectives and goals is of great significance to the lives of UN country members (Mark, 2012). Peace keeping operations are intended to help in the implementation of a comprehensive peace agreement, monitoring a cessation of hostilities or a ceasefire to allow for peaceful settlement of conflicts and political negotiations. These operations are also aimed at providing a secure environment facilitating a return to normal life, preventing a spillover or an outbreak of conflicts across borders, leading communities through transformation to stable governments that operate on democratic principles, economic development, and good governance (Stark, 2007). In addition, the UN carries out roles and responsibilities of a government as it administers a territory for a transitional period (Newman, 2004). These roles aid in promoting democracy in a country, and should, therefore, be long-term.
The operations are sustainable, and this is evident through the responsibilities that have been assumed by civilians. These responsibilities include assisting the former opponents in implementing agreements with various civil society and political actors. There is also support of delivery of humanitarian aid and assist with demobilization, reintegration, and disarmament of former fighters (Hogan and Burstein, 2007). They conduct and supervise elections and strengthen the rule of law through training and reforms. They investigate alleged violations, assist with recovery of post conflicts, rehabilitation, and promote respect for human rights (Keating and Knight, 2006).
Peacekeeping missions of the United Nations are not the only present in conflict and war zones. There are other UN entities Field staffs (UN, 2008). These include the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). These frequently work strongly with peacekeepers. Furthermore, peacekeepers of the United Nations have always been called upon to facilitate the activities of non-governmental organizations and other institutions involved in offering humanitarian support to victims of disputes and conflicts (Banerjee and Logan, 2008). In a majority of mission areas, a Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) gives general harmonization for the funds and programmes of the United Nations, working in the mission area, in addition to his or her other responsibilities (Berdal and Economides, 2007). Therefore, sustainability is essential.
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