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    179470

    Public health and the Persian Gulf War.

    Hoskins E

    In: War and public health, edited by Barry S. Levy, Victor W. Sidel. Washington, D.C., American Public Health Association [APHA], 2000. 254-278.

    War has always been disastrous for civilians, and the Persian Gulf War was no exception. Yet the image that has been perpetuated in the West is that the Gulf War was somehow "clean" and fought with "surgical precision" in a manner that minimized civilian casualties. However, massive wartime damage to Iraq's civilian infrastructure led to a breakdown in virtually all sectors of society. Economic sanctions further paralyzed Iraq's economy and made any meaningful post-war reconstruction all but impossible. Furthermore, the invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent Gulf War unleashed internal political events that have been responsible for further suffering and countless human fights violations. The human impact of these events is incalculable. In 1996, more than five years after the end of the war, the vast majority of Iraqi civilians still subsist in a state of extreme hardship, in which health care, nutrition, education, water, sanitation, and other basic services are minimal. As many as 500,000 children are believed to have died since the beginning of the Persian Gulf War, largely due to malnutrition and a resurgence of diarrheal and vaccine- preventable diseases. Health services are barely functioning due to shortages of supplies and equipment. Medicines, including insulin, antibiotics, and anesthetics, are in short supply. The psychological impact of the war has had a damaging and lasting effect on many of Iraq's estimated eight million children. (excerpt)
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