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In the line of duty: militarizing African epidemics

Allen, Tim and Parker, Melissa (2023) In the line of duty: militarizing African epidemics. Global Policy. ISSN 1758-5880

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1758-5899.13297


The deployment of soldiers for epidemic control in Africa has become more acceptable, even when human rights violations occur. This article outlines how this situation has arisen, foregrounding overlapping processes since the 1990s and the implications of Security Council Resolution 2177. It then explores effects with reference to Sierra Leone and Uganda. Drawing on long-term fieldwork, it discusses militarised epidemic control programmes during Ebola and COVID-19 outbreaks. It points out similarities in the responses to epidemics in these two countries, including the violent enforcement of regulations, but also striking differences. In Sierra Leone, a democratic transition of governmental power occurred, whereas militarised epidemic control in Uganda helped entrench autocratic public authority. To the extent that there is data available, disease control outcomes in the two countries were not widely divergent, yet the Ugandan response has been valorised. This highlights a drift towards less accountable forms of governance, justified by purported public health objectives.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2023 10:36
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 22:36

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