251981 Conflict, health care and professional perseverance: A study in the West Bank

Monday, October 31, 2011: 9:30 AM

Cindy Sousa, MSW/MPH , School of Social Welfare, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
The past three decades have been a time of considerable global conflict, affecting over 50 countries and causing substantial impacts on civilian health. While many effects are direct results of violence, conflict also impinges on health through indirect means. The restricted mobility of health care staff and patients, targeting of health care workers, and stressful working conditions disrupt the ability of health care workers in conflict zones to function effectively.

This paper explores the challenges experienced by health care workers in West Bank, Palestine, as well as their strategies of persistence. Research activities included participant observation and interviews with health care providers, which were then analyzed for common themes.

Results demonstrated that the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank considerably impacts civilians' access to both urgent and preventive care. While attempting to deliver care, providers encountered disruptions, harassment and violence, which interrupted care and contributed to job stress. Professional perseverance was evident, but its influence was limited by enduring constraints. This study thus underscores the importance of accountability to international law regarding the rights of civilians to health care in conflict zones. Health professionals may play a particular role in advocating for just and dignified resolutions to conflicts.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify manner in which political conflict affects healthcare delivery. 2. Discuss strategies healthcare workers employ to aid in professional perseverance

Keywords: Conflict Resolution, International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Work experience in this area
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.