August 19, 2016


International Day of Peace falls on 21st September each year. In 2015, the world celebrates the 33rd anniversary. So also 24th October is the birth day of the United Nations. The United Nations appeals for a global cease-fire every year on the International Day of Peace since last three decades, affirming the rights of people for peace.
During my carrier as United Nations Volunteer abroad, under the agency of United Nations Development Programme, I encountered armed conflicts, the worst being in Sri Lanka during early 1980s. In some countries armed conflict causes untold grief to families, communities and entire countries. Much of the human populations in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Korean peninsula, Ukraine are suffering today at the brutal hands of warmongers and terrorists.
These are only some examples. Entire global human population should stand with them in solidarity. As mentioned in the heading, Peace and security are essential foundations for social progress and sustainable development.
Only a few days ago, on 9 September 2015, the Global New Light of Myanmar, in its editorial, mentioned peace seems to be the most elusive thing in the world. The leaders of smaller countries which are engulfed by civil wars say they want to be architects of peace. Yet despite the rhetoric, our world is still ravaged by wars and human rights abuses. As war is a continuation of politics by another means, as a famous German philosopher once said, it is essential to address the political issues that provide the root cause of the problem in order to restore a genuine and sustainable peace, editorial continues.
My hospital postings across Myanmar at various capacities under the Ministries of Health, Energy and Mines, included some so called “brown” areas, viz, Western Magway region during 1960s and in Golden Triangle area, in Eastern Shan State in 1980s where Myanmar, Thailand and Loas borders meet, creating favourable conditions for illicit drug trade resulting in armed conflicts harming the peace and prosperity. Unforgettable bitter memories and night-mares recall frequently about role-plays, drills in harmony with sirens and alarms, fleeing and hiding in trenches with a limited amount of rations and clothings. Hiding trenches were digged in all government servant houses.
No doubt, every Myanmar citizen is proud of U Thant, a former United Nations Secretary General Once U Thant said wars begin in the minds of men. As such, love and compassion would have built as the defences of peace in those minds.
In current UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s words, the United Nations is founded on the pledge to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. Much progress have been made, yet much remain to be made, he said. Let us hold peace in our hearts and minds and tenderly nurture it so it may grow and blossom. Peace is a long road that we must travel together-step by step, beginning today. We must douse the fires of extremism and tackle the root causes of conflict, he continued.
In Myanmar, authorities and different ethnic armed groups are conducting dialogues and peace marking efforts. The people in areas where armed conflicts have receded, are beginning to enjoy the fruits of peace, it is learnt.
All the doctors, especially, UNV doctors should have a clear idea of impact of terrors and tortures of conflicts and wars on health. Consequences of traumas and tortures such as deficiency conditions (malnutrition, dehydration, vitamin deficiencies) infectious diseases (pneumoria, bronchitis, hepatitis, TB, HIV), musculo-skeletal and dermatologial sequellae, endocrine and visceral ailments, TBI and other neurological conditions, chronic disorders resulting from prolonged stess (hypertersion, diabetes) are physical.
On the other hand, impact of trauma on mental health are Depression, Psychosis, Post Trauma Psychological Disorders (PTSD). Substance abuse, Post Trauma personality disorder and Primary Insomnia etc.
Trauma due to lack of peaceful environment in conflict and war zones cause functional deficits after suffering. These include concentration, socialization, family life and work. All the medical and social caregivers should possess clear ideas and techniques to cope up with these physical, mental and functional deficits for mankind and to nurture peace.


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