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Health is a basic and fundamental human right that is always a top concern expressed by crisis-affected people. Unhealthy communities cannot cope nor recover effectively or become resilient to further crises. Without addressing the health needs of crisis-affected people, the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be realised. A shifting global landscape means that threats to health are at an all-time high, do not respect national boundaries, and can create serious wider humanitarian consequences. Meanwhile, attacks on healthcare and denial of access are a frequent feature of today’s armed conflicts.

Health should be at the centre of collective humanitarian action and the distinctive nature of health action during emergencies upheld in accord with established humanitarian principles, medical ethics, and international humanitarian law. The universal moral dimension to health can help build the confidence and trust necessary for peace-building.