ATT PrepCom: IPPNW hosts side event

On 28 February, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War(IPPNW) presented a side panel titled Control the Arms Trade: Improve Human and Environmental Health. Co-sponsored by the country of Zambia. Physicians from the United States, Zambia, and Austria spoke about the human health and environment dimensions of the full cycle of the arms trade and addressed how a robust Arms Trade Treaty can help promote health and reduce environmental contamination. The session was moderated by Victor W. Sidel, MD, Distinguished University Professor of Social Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, co-author of the The Global Gun Epidemic, and co-editor of War and Public Health. Michael Schober MD from IPPNW Austria discussed the need for North/South cooperation to reduce gun violence, and presented examples of how IPPNW works globally to mobilize physicians and other health professionals to engage in peacebuilding and citizen diplomacy. Donald Mellman MD from IPPNW in the US addressed the crisis of leadership that has led to a health crisis in armed violence. And, how a public health, evidence-based approach that utilizes methods successful in preventing infectious and chronic diseases and injuries including polio and malaria, HIV infection, smallpox, and automobile injuries can be harnessed to prevent violence. Cathey Falvo MD MPH, International Society of Doctors for the Environment, focused on a lesser known dimension of the arms trade - how competition for environmental resources can foster conflict, and how conflict can have devastating effects on environmental health. The panel concluded with testimony from Robert Mtonga, MD IPPNW/Zambia, and IPPNW’s current co-president, who related three “One bullet stories” and the human consequences and suffering arising from arms use. His experiences with the victims of armed violence led him to remark that he was fed up with mopping the floors while the taps are running. His work with other health professionals in Zambia and elsewhere have helped to quantify economic and social costs to countries struggling with competing needs for health care and development dollars.

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear Waris a Nobel Peace Prize-winning federation of national medical organizations in 63 countries dedicated to research, education, and advocacy relevant to the prevention of nuclear war, and to preventing injuries and death from armed violence. IPPNW is an active member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Violence Prevention Alliance and is on the Steering Board of the Control Arms Coalition.