Background: As two essential human rights, as well as pillars of sustainable development, health and peace are closely interrelated. Further, health and well-being are the focus of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, while peace lies at the heart of SDG 16. This paper investigates the relationship between the three concepts of health, peace and sustainable development in the relevant literature.
Methods: This is a qualitative study. Following the establishment of the construct of peace and health through consultation with three key informants (one health sociologists, one high-ranking diplomat, and one health policy maker), we conducted a scoping review of the literature, followed by purposefully obtained grey literature, i.e. UN and country reports. As a result, 30 documents, including journal articles, were identified. We used content analysis to extract themes and categorize them in line with the relevant SDGs.
Results: Lack of peace has direct and indirect impact on health, as well as health workers, the civil society, and the whole community who have in turn a critical role in creating peace. Strong and resilient health systems are essential in reaching out to citizens during war, while achieving SDGs would be impossible if SDG 16 is compromised. Health and peace are interchangeable, and achieving either is impossible without the other.
Conclusion: Physicians and other human resources for health are the key actors in peaceful environment to attain health for all. In the absence of peace, the resilience of health system will be threatened and the hope for sustainable development may fade.