Blog

A Human Rights Approach to Health Care in Conflict

Friday, September 27, 2013
Acts or threats of violence perpetrated against medical personnel, patients, facilities and transports that hinder the provision of medical care, contravene the rules and fundamental principles of international humanitarian law when carried out in situations of armed conflict. However, as recent targeting of health workers in Turkey, Pakistan and Bahrain illustrate, there are many situations of political volatility where humanitarian law does not apply.

Targeting the Healers: When Governments Attack Health Workers in Times of Conflict

Friday, September 20, 2013
When the government of Bahrain responded to peaceful protests in 2011 with a barrage of tear gas, birdshot, and other weapons, nurse Rula Al-Saffar rushed to help those in need. She saw abuse against protesters, including the use of live ammunition against a peaceful crowd and the firing of tear gas canisters at close range.

Around the World, Health Workers under Attack

Friday, September 20, 2013
In Syria, doctors have fled in droves, fearful of adding to the casualties in the country’s bloody civil war. In Pakistan, vaccinators are gunned down by militants. In Bahrain, physicians who treat protesters are thrown in jail. Despite universally recognized international law protecting medical workers in conflict situations, increasingly, the people on the front line of health care are becoming targets. At a side event of the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva today, speakers from Turkey, Bahrain, and Pakistan described attacks on healthcare workers for providing care to politically unpopular groups, or because the workers witnessed human rights violations. Other recent attacks have targeted vaccination teams and ambulances.

Health under Threat in the Central African Republic

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
In the early hours of Sunday, March 24th, 2013, rebels in the Central African Republic seized the capital Bangui, forcing President Bozize to flee the impoverished and embattled country. The attack was the culmination of a four-month rebellion by a coalition movement called Seleka that caused thousands of civilian deaths or injuries, displaced an estimated 40,000, and left an estimated 1.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance.

Syria: In a Doctor's Words

Friday, July 26, 2013
For Dr. Qasem al Zein, the revolution began with a feeling of hope. “Even before the Syrian revolution, in the beginning of the Arab Spring, I was happy and wished it would reach us,” he told filmmaker Amal Saloum. “The Syrian people suffered oppression and tyranny more than any other people in the world. So I expected the people to take to the streets.” Saloum filmed Dr. Qasem at work in the city of Al Qusair, several months before the long siege that has brought it back under the control of the government in recent weeks.

The Immediate Need for a Strategic Post-Conflict Plan for Rebuilding Health in Syria

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Never having been to Syria, or to an active conflict zone, it is hard for me to fully imagine the types of atrocities that have occurred over the past year. I write this blog post from my comfortable air-conditioned office in downtown Washington DC, and I cannot fully fathom the horrific conditions that Syrians face each day living through a civil war. The graphic images and tear-inducing stories of families being torn apart, children dying in the crossfire, and injured civilians unable to seek proper medical care are hard to digest. The US Government and the international community are faced with a challenging decision of whether or not to intervene with the efforts of the Syrian rebels to oppose the Assad regime.

Tough Decisions for Health Workers Who Care for the Boston Marathon's Wounded

Thursday, April 18, 2013
We at IntraHealth are keeping those who were injured and affected by the bombings at Monday’s Boston Marathon in our thoughts this week. The act of cruelty took three lives and inflicted gruesome, life-changing injuries on many others. Some athletes who were in top condition just a few days ago will never run again. But many are alive today because of the doctors, surgeons, and nurses who were ready and able to treat their injuries as soon as they rolled in the door.

Nine Polio Workers Dead in Nigeria: How Can We Move beyond Condemnation to Actions that Protect Health Workers?

Friday, February 8, 2013
First Pakistan, now Nigeria. Polio workers murdered on the job. Between December and January, at least 16 polio workers were killed in Pakistan, according to Reuters—and today, nine female health workers were slain in northern Nigeria, also while working on a polio eradication campaign. In the mountainous countryside of Pakistan, health workers often walk long distances to reach the population they serve.

The Protection of Public Health and Health Care in Armed and Civil Conflict: A New Year's Wish for 2013

Friday, December 21, 2012
The cold-blooded and premeditated murder of 8 public health workers in Pakistan this week once again brings attention to an issue that is not being adequately addressed: the protection of health care practitioners and allied workers, of health systems’ infrastructure and services, and of health service beneficiaries. Attacks on health care workers, health facilities/services and beneficiaries violate international humanitarian and human rights law. The consequences of such attacks extend beyond the immediate victims: the beneficiaries of the health services, primarily children and their mothers, suffer the effects of the preventable illnesses that occur as a result of the interruption in much-needed health services.

Northern Mali's Nursing Students Are Learning Fast, Because They Must

Thursday, December 6, 2012
Mali is currently experiencing the most severe crisis of its existence. When heavily armed Tuareg rebels and Islamist rebel groups poured in from Libya on January 17, 2012, they quickly defeated the underequipped, disorganized Malian army. Now they have seized the country’s vast northern regions and are working to force sharia—or Islamic law—on the people there. The most visible rebel chief is not Malian—he is from Pakistan—and he often appears on TV to say that sharia is good for Mali. That if Mali accepts Islamic law, the rebels will help the country to get funds from other Islamic countries. We never thought something like this could happen in Mali. It still feels like a dream, like it’s not reality.

Pages