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War, Conflict Threaten Global Public Health

The Lancet: DR Congo: managing Ebola virus in war
Editorial Board

“The latest Ebola virus outbreak across DR Congo is testing international and local health responses under conditions of extreme stress. The country is deep in a protracted conflict, and efforts to control Ebola virus in the conflict zone are hampered by conditions of war, which have led to a fractured society, a weakened health system, and widespread poverty and hunger. … Violence and war are, and have always been, a risk factor in public health emergencies. Cholera, a treatable disease, reached record levels in Yemen last year, and is on the rise this year. Neglected diseases, such as leishmaniasis, and diseases that should be on the way to eradication, such as polio, are resurging in conflict areas. … Long and protracted wars are common-place, and are a threat to us all. Violence and conflict are compounders of public health crises. What is happening in DR Congo means that a fragile political situation, a complex virus, and a raging conflict puts the whole world under threat” (10/13).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.