Polio Outbreak Highlights Second-Order Devastation in Syria

Polio Outbreak Highlights Second-Order Devastation in Syria

The World Health Organization confirmed this week that there has been an outbreak of polio in Syria, where war has devastated the health care system and there is little hope of doing much to stop the spread of infectious disease.

Trend Lines spoke with three experts about the issues of restricted access, the targeting of health care workers and the inability to move people and supplies across borders.

“This is clear evidence of the collapse of the health care system in Syria and the terrible humanitarian consequences,” said Elizabeth Ferris, co-director of the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement, explaining that people are dying not only from bombs and gunfire but also from lack of medicine and treatment. “These deaths aren't as dramatic or visible as those wounded by the fighting, but the casualties are just as real.”

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