News

Articles in New England Journal of Medicine Focus on Need to Safeguard Health in Conflict

Friday, March 22, 2013
Two Perspective articles in the March 21 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine focus on the need to safeguard health in conflict situations. In Security of Health Care and Global Health, Robin Coupland shares her views on threats to health care during conflicts. These threats are “not just an issue for humanitarian aid agencies,” she argues.

Health System Severely Disrupted by Syrian Crisis

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
As the Syrian crisis passes the two-year mark, refugees number over one million, 70,000 people have died and 350,000 have been injured, and the health system is severely disrupted. On March 15 the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean issued a situation report describing the effects of the crisis on health in the region.

New UN Report on Human Rights Violations in Syria Cites Targeting of Health Workers and Hospitals

Monday, February 18, 2013
A UN commission of inquiry on Syria issued a report on the deteriorating situation of human rights in the country. Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic includes language relating to health workers and facilities.

18 NGOs Write Joint Letter to World Health Organization's Margaret Chan Regarding Attacks on Health Workers in Pakistan

Friday, January 25, 2013
The Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition organized a group of 18 nongovernmental organizations from around the world to cosign a letter to World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan last week expressing alarm at the recent spate of attacks on health workers in Pakistan. The group praised the WHO’s dedication to documenting and reporting such attacks as specified by a resolution passed by the World Health Assembly in May 2012, and offered its support in implementing that resolution.

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.

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