STUDY OBJECTIVE To examine the impact of non-fatal war related injuries on physical disability in a group of war wounded civilians and to assess their needs.
DESIGN Cross sectional study. Home interviews were conducted using a structured interview schedule around one month after the injury, to assess impairments, disabilities, and needs.
STUDY POPULATION AND SETTING War wounded persons in towns and villages in South Lebanon during the attack “Grapes of Wrath” in 1996.
RESULTS The majority of the study population were young and in their productive age, mostly injured in the street or while hiding in open shelters. Around half of the injuries resulted in impairments, but, there were no age, gender or geographical differentials by severity of impairment. Almost one third (29%) of the students enrolled in schools at the time of the injury reported failure to continue their education and 42% of the working members lost their jobs with no potential for 34% of them to resume their former jobs. The impact of the injury on impairments, motor disabilities and physical independence was highest for injuries to the lower limbs (age and sex adjusted risk ratio (RR) 1.62, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.25, 2.10; 2.98, 95% CI 2.09, 4.23; and 2.13, 95% CI 1.39, 3.27, respectively). Despite the acute and early relief services provided by all those concerned at the time of the injury, when asked about unmet needs, the majority of the impaired (66%) reported the need for additional services, mostly medical in nature. The degree of disability was a salient factor for the need for rehabilitative services but not for medical services.
CONCLUSIONS The chronic and diverse needs of people with war injuries are often neglected and underestimated by the governmental institutions and relief agencies. Research funds as well as services should be allocated to tackle the long term and continuous health and social needs of those injured and their families.
- war injuries
- impairments and disabilities
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Funding: the study was financially supported by IMPACT/Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). We wish to thank HRH Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Ahmed Al-Saoud, Chief of Board of IMPACT/EMR (Cyprus), and Dr Mohammad N Alamuddine for providing the funds and support to carry out the study. We also thank the Ministry of Public Health in Lebanon and all non-governmental organisations who provided us with the list, including the names and addresses, of injured individuals.
Conflicts of interest: none.
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