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

School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.
Global Public Health (Impact Factor: 0.92). 05/2011; 6(5):1-14. DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2011.574146
Source: PubMed


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 analysed 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.

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    • "Finally, development may be defined as the scope for helpers to increase their skills, know-how, and socioeconomic status through training, supervision, and career opportunities (Ambrosino et al., 2008). Furthermore, in the case of helpers working and living in chronic and ongoing conflict contexts and constantly encountering disruption, harassment, and violence, with consequent interruptions to care and increased job stress, it is fundamental to take into account the full complexity of the dimensions affecting their well-being, which include not only safety and quality of working conditions but also QOL as a whole (Sousa and Hagopian, 2011). Williamson and Robinson (2006), apart from identifying safety, participation, and development as the main sources of well-being in waraffected populations, proposed that well-being is experienced in seven main domains, which they regard as being reasonably universal: biological , psychological (or mental), economic (or material), emotional, social (including political ), cultural, and spiritual. "

    Journal of Health Psychology 01/2012; · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    • "The need for human resources in the health sectors of Africa (private or public), has appropriately garnered attention from international policy experts, as well as Ministries of Health throughout the region [1-4]. However, Ministries and donors alike remain uncertain about which, if any, targeted investments have the potential to measurably improve the number, retention and distribution of health personnel [5-8]. "
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