the impact of conflict on health

The correlation between violent conflicts and health may seem to be very obvious, but there is more to the issue than what crosses the mind. Everyone can make the simple connection that there is direct impact of conflict on being unbenefittal for the betterment of health. For example it is easy to read this <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6590965.stm
“>article and see the obvious connection to artillery shells hitting a hospital in Mogadishu. Internal clashes and conflict creates a more difficult situation for humanitarian operations all over Africa.

Africa represents the highest rates of internal conflict and disease, especially HIV/AIDS. This disease has been used as a weapon in conflict. Many times infected soldiers are sent to the front lines to spread disease and infect the opposition, which generally turns out to be the innocent population. Populations affected by armed internal conflicts end up experiencing severe public health consequences from food insecurity, displacement, and combat. All this ends in a collapse of basic health services which are essential to the survival of the population.

I could not find the article again, but the BBC had reported on the difficulties faced by those bringing humanitarian aid to Darfur, Sudan. They constantly faced issues with the government shutting areas down or denying them entrance. infrastructures for basic health, or created systems for basic health become neglected or destroyed. In many cases the impact of conflict can be felt at the very lowest levels of a population; women are unable to protect their families, fathers just might not be present anymore, children have no access to schooling, and everyone suffers from an absence of basic health – no food, no medications, no stable doctors, and no way to deal with the injury inflicted by the violence of conflict.

With the renewed peace talks for Uganda, the twenty year civil war seems to be coming to a close and the health of the northern Ugandan population may be improving. The rebuilding effort is going to be long and difficult, but there is hope. Many organizations are beginning efforts to improve the health situation and support hospitals and health centers that have been impacted by the conflict.

There are so many topics that can be covered as a result of conflict in a country and its correlation to health. However, I am not here to expound all of the information available, but know that it is out there: sexual violence, psychological impact on children, and especially the toll on health workers. Conflict impacts health plain and simple, but there is so much more as the impact trickles down to the population, the families, and the children. The future of a country in conflict lies in its ability to rebuild and provide aid to their populations after conflict.

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