After the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, the researchers measured lifespan drops in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and Yemen. The change erased two decades of investments in health.
In the three years to 2013, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen lost three months in the average of a person’s life expectancy.
The war in Syria cut the average life expectancy for six years.
“Recent conflicts have shattered the basic (health) infrastructure in a number of countries. Millions of people are facing dire water shortages and poor sanitation that will lead to disease outbreaks,” said Ali Mokdad at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, who led the research.
The experts say that the life expectancy decline is a sign that the social systems are failing. The results of the study show that the countries need to make serious investments in health care.
The protests and demonstrations started in 2011, during what it is now called the Arab Spring, brought a change in the power of autocratic rulers from the Arab world.
Tunisia was the first country to regain stability. Meanwhile, Yemen, Egypt, and Libya are still struggling to find an internal consensus.
The war in Syria made 11 million individuals relocate and killed more than 250,000 people. The social troubles started five years ago with pro-democracy protests and transformed itself into an armed conflict.
The fighting damaged the basic infrastructure, and millions of people are at risk of being contaminated due to poor sanitation and water shortages. The country also has to deal with aging and a decline in population growth.
The effects are believed to last for many years, and these countries had already limited resources to rely upon.
Cause of Death and Lifespan Drops
Between 2010 and 2013, child mortality in Syria raised to 9.1 % a year, while a decade before they were at 6%.
The leading cause of death in 2013 was heart disease, killing more people than diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections. The deaths from diabetes rose from 12 per 100,000 people to 19 per 100,000 people.
Moreover, the mental health problems and injuries related to war traumas increased.
The survey monitored 306 diseases and injuries between 1990 and 2013. The data came from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013.
The authors of the study warn that the sophisticated weaponry used in conflicts will soon arise new types of emergencies.
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