News

Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition Condemns Attacks on Polio Eradication Campaign Workers in Pakistan

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
The Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition joins the World Health Organization in condemning recent attacks that have killed or wounded several polio eradication campaign workers in Pakistan. The murder of these health workers is a personal tragedy, and a major setback in the effort to eliminate polio myelitis from the region. Vaccination campaigns and public health services are critical to the health of communities and must be protected in times of conflict. The Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition supports the World Health Organization’s efforts to document attacks on these critical elements of the health system under the resolution adopted in May 2012.

New Report Documents Sudanese Government's Attacks on Civilians; Access to Health Care Prevented

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
“The situation [in our village] was very bad,” said Saudia Idris, a refugee from Blue Nile State. “There was no relief. The planes were constantly bombing us and the militia were attacking us. It was no way to live,” she told Human Rights Watch. “Disease began to spread, but we couldn’t get any medication because the militia were always attacking.” The Sudanese government’s indiscriminate aerial bombardment and shelling in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states has killed and injured scores of civilians since the conflict began more than a year ago, Human Rights Watch said in a report, Under Siege.

Documenting Bahrain's Attacks on Health

Friday, November 23, 2012
In Bahrain, health workers have been drawn into the conflict that began in February 2011 when protesters called for reform and the government responded with violence. By treating wounded civilians, frontline health workers witnessed the effects of the government crackdown—and quickly became targets themselves. One health worker recently told news outlet RT of her experience. “As a punishment for not obeying the authorities to abandon these patients, all the doctors who were involved in treating these patients, they were arrested. Myself personally, I was abducted from my house at 3 am in the morning, and I was badly mistreated… I was tortured. Later on, after being jailed for almost two months, I was prosecuted, tried in a military court and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment,” said Dr. Nada Dhaif.

Documents Emphasize Data Collection on Violence against Health

Monday, November 5, 2012
The World Medical Association revised its Regulations in Times of Armed Conflict and Other Situations of Violence, endorsing collection of data and including a code of conduct for physicians in conflicts. In May 2012 at the World Health Assembly, member states of the World Health Organization passed a resolution requiring the WHO to lead international data collection of attacks on health workers, facilities, transports, and patients.

World Health Assembly Passes Resolution

Friday, June 8, 2012
Leonard S. Rubenstein of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health took part in the 65th World Health Assembly in Geneva last month. Upon his return, he told the magazine of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health about the new resolution requiring the World Health Organization to lead international data collection of attacks on health workers, facilities, transports and patients.

Coalition Commends World Health Assembly's Action to Protect Health Workers in Humanitarian Crises

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition commends the World Health Assembly—the governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO)—on its unprecedented step to protect the lives of health workers and patients in humanitarian crises by spearheading global efforts to document the number of attacks on medical services. In violent conflicts, where health needs are most urgent, health workers are at risk of assault, arrest and sometimes kidnapping and death, compromising their ability to deliver care and remain on the job. But such attacks usually go unreported; with a body of evidence, the global community can better protect fragile health systems and those on the frontlines.

New Coalition Urges Protection of Health Workers, Services, and Infrastructure

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
A new coalition of international nongovernmental organizations is calling on the global community to protect health workers, services, and infrastructure during armed conflict or civil disturbances. The Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition promotes respect for international humanitarian and human rights laws that relate to the safety and security of health facilities, workers, ambulances, and patients. This marks the first time an international coalition has come together to work on this issue.

Discussion Highlights US and International Response to Attacks on Health in Armed and Civil Conflict

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
On May 11, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a panel discussion on The Protection of Health Care in Armed and Civil Conflict in Washington, DC. The panel featured Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, principal deputy director of the Office of Global Affairs, US Department of Health and Human Services; Leonard Rubenstein, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a member of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition; and Dr. Mark Steinbeck, health delegate and detention doctor for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The panel was moderated by Stephen Morrison, Director of CSIS’s Global Health Policy Center.

Remarks by Dr. Nils Daulaire at the Congressional Briefing on Medical Neutrality, March 7, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Good Afternoon. Thank you so much Congressman McDermott for bringing the three of us here this afternoon to discuss the necessity of keeping health care workers safe while they work in dangerous situations. This is an issue which is extremely important to the Obama Administration. It is being addressed in various ways by a number of departments, and I would like to give you a short update how we, the US government are engaging on this issue overseas.

WHO Takes Important Step in Protecting Health Workers and Facilities in Conflict

Thursday, January 26, 2012
Last week, the World Health Organization’s Executive Board took an important step toward protecting the lives of health workers and patients in conflict zones by passing a resolution that calls on the WHO Director General for leadership in documenting evidence of attacks against health workers, facilities, and patients in situations of armed conflict. A coalition of international nongovernmental organizations, including IntraHealth International, sought this provision as part of its efforts to increase documentation of these attacks and to develop strategies for prevention. The lead sponsors of the resolution were the United States, the European Union, and Japan.

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