Armed conflict women and girls who are pregnant, infants and children; a neglected public health challenge. What can health professionals do?

Early Hum Dev. 2011 Nov;87(11):735-42. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2011.08.020. Epub 2011 Sep 23.


Without security, adequate healthcare is not possible. Armed conflicts continue to be waged with pregnant women and girls, babies and children affected most. Most countries in conflict are poorly resourced and their mortality and morbidity statistics so much higher than rich countries that nothing short of a global revolution to create equity is going to solve the problem. When the arms trade is added in and analysed the maternal and child mortality rates for those countries exporting most of these killing machines is so much lower than the countries in which they are used that we have an ethical issue that must be addressed by health professionals. Armed conflict is probably the most serious global public health challenge and two solutions are proposed. Health professionals have a major voice and must support the currently progressing Arms Trade Treaty and call for more effective protection for healthcare in areas of conflict.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Mortality
  • Delivery of Health Care / ethics*
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Health Personnel / ethics*
  • Health Priorities / ethics
  • Health Priorities / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Poverty
  • Pregnancy
  • Public Health / ethics
  • Rape
  • Social Welfare / ethics
  • Warfare*
  • Weapons*