War causes an enormous and unacceptable amount of death and disability worldwide, destroying lives, families, communities, cultures, and the natural and built environment. It disrupts the infrastructure that supports health while diverting resources that would be better spent on improving human health. It increases the number of internally displaced persons, as well as refugees who are forced to flee the violence of war. It is a clear violation of human rights. Health professionals can play important roles in minimizing the adverse consequences of war and in preventing war itself.
Learn more about the health effects of war (website by Oregon PSR Advisory Board Member Dr. Martin Donohoe)
Mustafa Abed: The Story of an Iraqi Child Injured by US Bombing in Fallujah
The human health impact of war is illustrated by the experiences of Mustafa Abed, an Iraqi child severely injured by US bombing in Fallujah.
In 2004, the US military heavily bombed and assaulted the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Mustafa Abed, a healthy 2 year old, had a slight fever and his mother ventured out during a lull in the bombing to take him to the doctor. A US bomb hit a building they were passing and shrapnel and debris hit Mustafa and his mother. He was blown out of his mother's arms and gravely wounded – losing a leg and much of his pelvis. Doctors saved his life, but he remained in pain and in need of more complicated surgery, beyond what Iraqi hospitals could do at that time of war and occupation by US troops.
Through a non-profit group called “No More Victims,” a group of Oregonians, including several Oregon PSR members, brought Mustafa and his father, Ahmed, to Portland in 2008 for four months so that Mustafa could receive life-saving medical care and a prosthetic leg. Mustafa returned home to Iraq stable, but with some serious chronic renal problems, and within a few years, we lost touch with him. In 2016, through a remarkable series of events, Mustafa was contacted, and now under the auspices of Oregon PSR, we are working to support his medical needs.
Continue reading about Mustafa and our efforts to assist him in obtaining much-needed medical assistance. Read and watch the November 2017 NPR story, Watch the 2016 KGW story and read the Oregonian's coverage of Mustafa. Donate to help with these efforts.