While current UN missions have adopted a number of measures to mitigate these dangers, these do not address the systemic challenges facing medical support to UN peace operations.
This paper asks the question: What are the challenges to providing medical support to UN peace operations in high-risk environments? It analyzes five core challenges facing the UN:
(1) medical structures, planning, and coordination in UN headquarters;
(2) standards of care;
(3) coordination in the field;
(4) training and capacity building; and
(5) resources and capabilities.
On the basis of these challenges, it offers recommendations for making medical support to peace operations in high-risk environments more efficient and effective:
- The UN Medical Services Division and Medical Support Section should coordinate better and create links with the Office of Military Affairs.
- Medical support planning should be included in every aspect of mission planning and be tailored to the context.
- Missions should shift away from Level II hospitals, which are expensive and underutilized, instead exploring alternatives such as mobile medical units with surgical capabilities.
- Missions should focus on in-mission training, including by improving mentoring of medical personnel.
- MedEvac and CasEvac procedures should be simplified, decentralized, and made more flexible.
- The UN should seek pledges of medical equipment and personnel from member states in a more targeted way.
Download and read the report Medical Support for UN Peace Operations in High-Risk Environments.