The world is experiencing wars in Europe and in the Middle East and the impacts are many.
War can have severe health effects, both direct and indirect.
Direct effects include injuries, trauma, and deaths caused by violence.
Indirect effects involve displacement, disrupted access to healthcare, spread of diseases in crowded conditions, and psychological impacts such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Also wars often lead to the destruction of infrastructure, hindering the delivery of essential health services and increasing the risk of malnutrition and disease outbreaks.
Children are probably most profoundly affected by war, due to the importance of the early years in a child’s life.
War inevitably reduces access to clean water, food, and sanitation. This further increases the risk of contracting communicable diseases.
It elevates the risk of malnutrition and diseases linked with malnutrition. Lack of access to clean water can also enhance the prevalence of cholera and other water-borne illnesses.
War is effectively a public health emergency and we all can see the day to day consequences on our TV screens, online and in social media.
Perhaps as never before, we can see minute by minute the health impacts of war during this current time of uncertainty in Europe and the Middle East.
We think of Covid-19 as a world health emergency but we should also view the current events in a similar light even though fewer people are directly affected.
The contributions by countries not directly affected by the current conflicts in terms of health aid is vital.
We all hope that peace can be restored as soon as possible to reduce the suffering in those regions affected.
It will take many years, decades perhaps, to restore ruined health infrastructure.
The world will have its part to play in this work.