Mark Taliano. Reporting from Damascus.
The war on Syria has exacted a tremendous toll on all aspects of life in Syria. The bullets and bombs kill, but so do the hidden tentacles of this War of Aggression.
Numerous war-impacted health indicators form a nexus of intersecting trajectories which contribute to an elevated toll of avoidable deaths. Poverty is one such indicator. According to Elizabeth Moss of the World Health Organization, about 70% of Syrians now live in poverty. Poverty reduces access to healthcare, and so does the damage to healthcare infrastructure. Moss reports that the war has so far destroyed about 50% of Syria’s hospitals, and rendered the other 50% either partially destroyed or non-functioning. Similarly, whereas Syria previously manufactured 90% of its own medications, the war has now destroyed many of these pharmaceutical companies. The destruction of pharmaceutical companies coupled with procurement hardships, — a consequence of illegal sanctions — means that patients have drastically reduced access to life- saving medications. Since the war started, 5,000,000 people have died in what are deemed to be “avoidable deaths”.
Also invisible is the psychological trauma. Moss estimates that about one in twenty Syrians now suffers from severe psychological trauma, and that one in four suffers from anxiety and depression.
More visible is the war-inflicted physical trauma. About 1.5 million people must now live with physical trauma such as the loss of limbs, reports Moss, and to add to the misery, there is a shortage of artificial limbs.
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In the following video, Syrian medical doctor Loujen Ismael describes additional war-imposed health traumas.
Peace, coupled with International Justice, is the only sustainable remedy to these largely invisible, war-inflicted, miseries.
Mark Taliano is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and the author of Voices from Syria, Global Research Publishers, 2017.