Medical aid in disaster zones cannot be transient. Health problems continue for many years afterwards, as Jason H Wasfy explains
- By: Jason H Wasfy
For me, one of the hardest lessons of medical school emerged when I spent two months living in Sarajevo as a visiting medical student, gathering information about the consequences of the siege during the Bosnian war of the 1990s. The image from my summer in Sarajevo that I'll never forget is a panorama of long rows of white stones. I saw those stones every day. I could see them walking from my apartment in Sarajevo's city centre towards the medical school and main teaching hospital. Each stone commemorated the life of someone who had died in the Bosnian war. Far too many civilians are in Bosnian war graves, including mass graves that no one has yet exhumed. Nothing could have impressed on me just how much suffering the war inflicted as that ghastly image, which extended over several hills towards the horizon.
Like many other medical students, I chose a