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Political violence and Eritrean health care

By Lois E. Sabo and Joachim S. Kibirige


In both colonial and post-colonial eras, the creation of nation states has often been accompanied by conflict and violence in Third World countries, particularly if such attempts have ignored previously existing cultural, religious and/or ethical differences. The illegitimacy of national state construction becomes even more apparent when the attempt is associated with conflicting geopolitical interests of the 'super-powers', as is in the case of the Horn of Africa. The 27 years of armed struggle of Eritrea to free itself from Ethiopian domination is a consequence of previous and continuing attempts to create a nation state serve the interests of the ex-colonialists and 'super-powers' at the expense of the needs and desires of the people. Throughout the 27 years of strugglewith its inevitable disruption ofcivilian life and service provisions, Eritrea has continued to develop a needs-based health care system. The Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) has developed a health care system which directly involves the people themselves. Through careful selection of priorities and a national allocation system for the distribution of scarce resources, it has provided remarkably effective emergency services, primary care and preventive health services. Such an approach has avoided the errors committed by many other Third World countries who, through copying modern western medical care systems, developed secondary and tertiary medical care facilities which were irrelevant to the health care needs of the vast majority of their populations.political violence Eritrea EPLF health care needs liberation

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