The News, a major newspaper in Pakistan, recently reported that 130 doctors were killed and 150 kidnapped in Karachi alone between 2012 and 2014. This comes on top of other violent incidents that result in injuries to health workers and damage to hospitals, ambulances and equipment.
Violence against health services in Pakistan is an all too familiar occurrence. But now an exemplary initiative is tackling the problem, one which could be replicated elsewhere in Pakistan and beyond. In 2014, the ICRC's delegation in Pakistan, the APPNA Institute of Public Health, the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), the Research Society of International Law (RSIL) and the Indus Hospital joined forces to launch a Health Care in Danger project to protect health workers in Karachi.
The project has three main components. First, in 2015, the RSIL and the ICRC reviewed the legal framework for providing health services in Karachi. The objective was to identify gaps in the legal system and make recommendations for the government to strengthen domestic legislation that would safeguard health workers and patients.
Second, the APPNA, the JPMC and the ICRC carried out a study into violence against health services – the types of violence and their impact and how they were seen and/or tolerated – and suggested ways to tackle the problem.
Third, the ICRC with some of its partners and two major ambulance operators in the city, the Edhi Foundation and Aman Foundation, launched a public awareness campaign on the importance of respecting and protecting ambulance services.
The full article continues on the ICRC website at https://www.icrc.org/en/document/pakistan-karachi-says-no-violence-against-health-care-workers.