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.
We are currently updating our materials relative to the health effects of war. Please revisit this page soon for more information.
Learn more about the health effects of war (website by Oregon PSR Advisory Board Member Dr. Martin Donohoe)
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.