The enduring effects of war in Iraq: health in Iraq 2004
This evidence-based report analyzes, from a public health perspective, the impact of the 2003 war in Iraq on health, the health system, and relief and reconstruction. Health is harmed by conflict-related damage to health-sustaining infrastructure and to the health system, as well as the corrosive effects of conflict-related factors such as poverty, unemployment, disrupted education and low morale. The effects of the war must be measured not only by death and injuries due to weaponry, but by the longer-term, enduring suffering.
The report builds on Medactís two previous reports on health in Iraq (2002 and 2003), which attracted worldwide media attention, and again aims to stimulate debate on the impact of conflict on health, with special reference to Iraq. It describes the deaths and injuries attributable to conflict and violence, and the current pattern of mental and physical illness. It gives an overview of the Iraqi health care system and barriers to good health care, including problems with the health-sustaining infrastructure. It analyzes the challenges of building a new health system freely available to all and based on primary health care principles.