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Organ Trafficking, Education, and War: Women and Their Plight for Sustainable Lives

Recently there was a case in Pakistan where women were tricked into giving their spinal fluid. According to BBC “The gang is thought to have stolen spinal fluid from over 12 women, including a teenager” [1]. This event is not an isolated one. Women all over Pakistan have been subjected to organ trafficking and other horrendous abuse due to the lack of social infrastructure in their country, specifically in education and health services.

Lack of education and basic health services for women has become an unintentional problem with lesser developed countries. It is true that there has been an increase in education and healthcare for women across the globe in the last 20 years. However, for developing countries like Pakistan, general health services have decreased significantly.

Countries that experienced a devolution in their healthcare and education systems have a strong correlation to violence. These countries tend to be war-stricken, and cannot develop the social infrastructure needed to serve their people. As a result, many women and children are not educated and do not have access to decent healthcare.

Education Correlates to Health

Education is the “foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development.” [2]. For women, it is the next step in improving their health and well being. There is a known positive correlation between the education and health. When women are properly educated about their health, they delay having children, use reproductive services, have higher wages and live more sustainable lives. Their children are also more likely to receive a proper education and live longer lives. Overall, education is the key to proper healthcare for women and their children.

From UN Women Infographic - Beijing20

The problem is that there is very little social infrastructure for education or health in developing countries. According to Women Deliver, there have been calls for a policy that addresses countries to “[s]et and meet national targets across girls’ and women’s health and wellbeing needs — including sexual and reproductive health, as well as communicable and noncommunicable diseases.” [3]. Certain countries have met these goals or are progressing to meet them. However, countries like Pakistan are experiencing a devolution in educating women and the quality of healthcare that they receive.

Violence Disrupts Education

Policymakers, however, cannot craft legislation that addresses education for women and children because these countries are involved in ongoing conflict. NPR reports that “ISIS massacred Yazidi men and is believed to have captured more than 6,000 Yazidi women and children in 2014.”[4]. The Yazidi women have just won their right to education after experiencing attacks from ISIS. Luckily for them, they are making steps towards better education even after experiencing war and conflict.

The situation with the Yazidi people is not isolated. In Afghanistan, there has been a proven record of violence and war having permanent health consequences. There have been endless strings of mental health cases due to the effects of war on the country. Citizens have had a hard time with their mental health after seeing violent imagery and cannot build proper social infrastructure, including a comprehensive education and healthcare system. This violence not only interrupts the building of social infrastructure but also causes a devolution in the infrastructure that already exists. Essentially, war and conflict have a direct correlation to the quality of education and healthcare available in countries.

From UN Website - Afghanistan

Theories on Rebuilding Social Infrastructure

According to Women Deliver, the way to create a comprehensive education and health system is for the government to create structures to develop these systems. If governments were to increase funds, they could provide comprehensive healthcare packages to the general population. There are also health organizations, such as Global Health Workforce Alliance and World Health Organization, which have been working on policy, methods, and research on to increase healthcare around the globe for women.

Unfortunately, due to continuous crises in certain countries, it is difficult for them to create social infrastructure.

The way to improve the lives of women in these countries is through a reduction in violence and increase in peace. The Institute of Economics and Peace have stated that “greater acceptance of the rights of others is hypothesized to be associated with a more peaceful and less conflict-prone community” [5]. By accepting the fact that others have rights, there is a way to increase peace in communities that are war-stricken. Rights, such as education and healthcare, only come when communities are less prone to conflict.


  1. "Pakistan gang 'stole spinal fluid from women'." BBC News. February 13, 2018. Accessed March 06, 2018.

  2. "Education - United Nations Sustainable Development." United Nations. Accessed March 06, 2018.

  3. "Ensure Access to Comprehensive Health Services." Women Deliver. Accessed March 06, 2018.

  4. Arraf, Jane. "Yazidi Women Finally Go To School, Defying Former ISIS Rulers - And Their Own Parents." NPR. February 14, 2018. Accessed March 06, 2018.

  5. “Pillars of Peace: Understanding the Key Attitudes and Institutions that Underpin Peaceful Societies.” Institute of Economics and Peace. 2018. Accessed March 06, 2018.

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