Opportunities Lost: Political Interference in the Systematic Collection of Population Health Data during and after the 2003 War in Iraq

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The review of the article, Developing a Public Health Monitoring System in a War-torn Region: A Field Report from Iraqi Kurdistan, prompted the writing of this commentary. Decisions to implement health data systems within Iraq require exploration of many otherwise undisclosed or unknown historical facts that led to the politicization of and ultimate demise of the pre-2003 Iraq war systematic health data monitoring system designed to mitigate both direct and indirect mortality and morbidity. Absent from the field report's otherwise accurate history leading up to and following the war is the politically led process by which the original surveillance system planned for the war and its aftermath was destroyed. The successful politicization of the otherwise extensively planned for public health monitoring in 2003 and its legacy harmed any future attempts to implement similar monitoring systems in succeeding wars and conflicts. Warring factions only collect military casualty data. The field report outlines current attempts to begin again in building a systematic health monitoring system emphasizing it is the only way to manage the complex post-war events that continue to lead to disproportionate preventable mortality and morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-150
Number of pages7
JournalDisaster medicine and public health preparedness
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Iraqi Kurdistan
  • health care surveillance
  • mortality and morbidity
  • war and conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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