The first comprehensive examination of the relationship between war and public health, this book documents the public health consequences of war and describes what health professionals can do to minimize these consequences and even help prevent war altogether. It explores the effects of war on health, human rights, and the environment. The health and environmental impact of both conventional weapons and weapons of mass destructionnuclear, chemical, and biological weaponsis described in chapters that cover the consequences of their production, testing, maintenance, use, and disposal. The negative impact of the proliferation of weapons and of the international arms trade, including the diversion of resources that could otherwise be allocated for health and human welfare, is also discussed. Separate chapters cover especially vulnerable populations, such as women, children, and refugees. In-depth descriptions of specific military conflicts, including the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and wars in Central America provide striking illustrations of the issues covered in other chapters. A series of chapters explores the roles of health professionals and of organizations during war, and in preventing war and its consequences.
A wide range of individuals, including physicians, nurses, and other health professionals, will find this book enlightening and useful in their work. The book will be valuable for faculty and students in schools of public health, medicine, nursing, and other health professions. In addition, it will be useful to those working in the fields of law, economics, international studies, peace and conflict resolution, military studies, diplomacy, and sociology, and in related disciplines.
This is an updated paperback version of the hard cover edition published in 1997. The many scientist-activist contributors clearly demonstrate just how devastating war is through their writing, graphs illustrations, and statistics. The theme is that war and its prevention is a public health issue and should include education, research, and practice. Until World War I, mortality and morbidity were mainly among combatants. During and since World War II, the civilian casualties have steadily risen so that 90 percent of all deaths in the last decade were civilian deaths. Indirect effects causing increased mortality include disruption of food supplies, breakdown of sanitary and electrical systems, scattered populations, shortage of medical supplies, and devastation of the countryside. Today there are still over 100 million active mines in 64 countries continuing to maim thousands of civilians, many of them children. This book should be on the reading list not only for health professionals but for all those who are interested in the future of our world. The authors discuss nuclear weapons, biological and chemical weapons, conventional arms and services, the U.N., and the enormous costs involved in both developed and developing nations that deprive these nations from focusing on the health and welfare of their citizens. The greatest value of this book lies in the chapter written by Drs. Levy, Sidel, Forrow, Kehan, Lewer, and Miles on ways of preventing war and its health consequences. Leland Miles, President Emeritus of IAUP who describes today's students as global illiterates, suggests required internationalized general education, which would be interdisciplinary and problem-oriented,creating future leaders knowledgeable in interdependence, cross cultural awareness, and orientation toward peace.