Expanding Humanitarian Global Health Capacity for the Human Good

Donna J. Perry and Melissa T .Ojemeni

This paper proposes a three-level approach to capacity building within the context of humanitarian global health care: augmenting healthcare delivery, assisting local community development and transformation of barriers to capacity. The approach builds on a secondary data analysis from a qualitative study with transnational global health care providers. The findings suggest that many providers experience a “dialectic of dignity” due to the profound suffering they often encounter in the field. We argue that underlying socio-political issues that contribute to this dialectic such as social injustice, human rights abuses and violent conflict are barriers to capacity building that must be addressed in order to realize the human good of health. The theory of transcendent pluralism and philosophy of Bernard Lonergan are used to elucidate the need for a transformative approach. We propose that a higher viewpoint of humanitarian capacity building is needed that encompasses a transformative solidarity with local communities.