Prevention


Overview

“Prevention” is a concept used differently in different areas of humanitarian action. It appears frequently in relation to health, where it is associated with “detection”, “treatment”, “care” and “control”. However, it is also closely related to “peacebuilding” and “protection”, as well as “preparedness”, “management” and “response”, suggesting it is broadly used across the humanitarian, development and peace sectors.

Humanitarian documents refer to three main types of prevention: “disease” prevention, such as “HIV”, “AIDS” and “malaria”; “conflict”, “violence”, “crime” and “torture” prevention, and more broadly “disaster” prevention. Various interventions are aimed at prevention, including “strategy”, “programme”, “measure”, “service”, “activity”, “project”, “effort” and “step”. 

Questions

  • Early warning and early action, preparedness and disaster risk reduction have been major humanitarian policy themes in the 2010s. Why might have prevention, a related term, declined in use in humanitarian documents during this period?
  • What are the major barriers to successfully implementing prevention measures in humanitarian settings? How can these be overcome?
  • What is the difference between conflict prevention and disease prevention? How could prevention efforts in both spheres of humanitarian action inform each other?
  • How does prevention relate to efficiency?  What are the factors to consider when planning prevention compared to response programmes?
  • Prevention of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) is a key concern but a difficult challenge for humanitarian organisations. What strategies are effective to prevent SGBV before it occurs?

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Please note: The overview on this page represents a first summary and exploratory analysis of the concept, proposed by the HE core team for discussion, on the basis of preliminary linguistic data. It is not the full concept entry which will be based on rigorous linguistic methodology and collaboration with humanitarian practitioners and experts.

Coming soon: Expanded concept explanations, visualisations and analysis for this and 17 other COVID-19 related concepts.

Prevention has been referred to with decreasing frequency since 2007.

Prevention is used most frequently in documents from Caribbean, Central and South America, followed by Africa.

Prevention is used most frequently in documents from Caribbean, Central and South America, followed by Africa.

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