Posts Tagged 'gaza'

War and mental health

The impact of the destruction in Gaza will extend far beyond the time taken to rebuild public infrastructure, hospitals, universities, and apartment buildings.  Some are predicting that more than half of the children in Gaza will suffer from posttraumatic-stress disorder.  A revealing excerpt from a Newsweek piece:

Our host Hassan says all his three children now climb in bed with their parents, which they hadn’t done in years. His son Abdullah, 14, came to him half way through all this and handed him a letter, which he had carefully and beautifully written out. In it the boy pleas formally with his father to “remember me when I am dead, and promise to bury me near Grandmother and Grandfather, and please visit my grave every week.” The father wept for half an hour after reading it, he says. Abdullah, his 10-year-old son, one long night when the bombing was particularly bad, held his mother and said “please watch my eyes and make sure I don’t go to sleep, mama,” as Hassan related it. “He was afraid he would die and not wake up.”

War has a devastating, long-lasting impact on people’s health, whether they be innocent civilians or soldiers.  War recovery plans must prioritize the treatment of PTSD amongst the efforts to treat the rehabilitate the wounded and rebuild public health infrastructure.  So far, we are failing – both as a country and as a global community.

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Health in Gaza

Hatem Shurrab, an aid worker with Islamic Relief in Gaza (remember, no journalists), reports on the maternal health situation in the region via The Lancet Global Health Network:

…the healthcare system in Gaza is in disarray and there is little medical support available for pregnant women or their new-born babies. Most delivery rooms and operating theatres which had been used for caesarean sections at Gaza’s hospitals are now being used to treat those injured in the attacks.  On top of this women no longer have any access to ante-natal care because there aren’t enough health staff and because there is no electricity with which to run the ultrasound machines.  Presently women are only giving birth in hospital in critical cases, and even then only if they can make the journey. There have been no caesarean sections since the conflict started. Few women are now able to travel to hospital to give birth as ambulances are unable to reach them.

If a woman dies in childbirth due to the crippling impact of war on the health system, is she considered a casualty of war?  She needs to be.  Only then will be able to grasp the true devastation of war.


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