Attacks on Health

Coalition Urges World Health Organization Director-General to Raise Awareness of Attacks on Health Workers

Thursday, May 16, 2013
On May 15 the Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition sent a letter to World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan urging her to include in her World Health Assembly opening address a forceful statement condemning attacks on doctors, nurses, emergency medical personnel, and other health workers, particularly in Syria, which are taking place at an unprecedented level. The letter, which also has the support of the World Medical Association, called attention to a new study by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Violent Incidents Affecting Health Care, which reported that at least 921 violent incidents against health care personnel, infrastructure, and wounded or sick people took place in 2012.

Health Care in Danger: The Human Cost

Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The law says hospitals, ambulances and health-care workers must be protected and should never be targeted as they carry out their regular duties. This is often far from the reality. Worldwide, the lack of safe access to health care is causing untold suffering to millions of people. Through the voices of doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and patients, this film shows the human cost of violence against health-care workers and facilities.

Taliban Renounces War on Anti-Polio Workers

Monday, May 13, 2013
The Taliban has ended its war on polio vaccination workers and admitted immunisation is the only way to protect children from the disease, its leadership said in a statement issued today. The announcement comes just weeks after the Afghan government launched a new campaign to immunise more than eight million children between six months and five years old throughout the country. It said it had trained 46,000 volunteers to conduct the campaign which is funded by the American aid agency USAID, the World Health Organisation and Unicef.

Violent Incidents against Health Care in at Least 22 Countries in 2012

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
A new study by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), entitled “Violent Incidents Affecting Health Care,” reveals that at least 921 violent incidents against health-care personnel, infrastructure and wounded or sick people took place in 2012. The study conducted in 22 unnamed countries affected by armed violence underlines a worrying trend: assaults on health-care personnel, facilities and vehicles in conflicts and other emergencies leave millions around the world without care just when they need it most.

How Doctors Would Know If Syrians Were Hit With Nerve Gas

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
President Obama affirmed Tuesday that there’s evidence Syrians have been attacked with chemical weapons—in particular, nerve gas. But that's not the same as proof positive. “We don't know how they were used, when they were used, who used them,” Obama said. “We don't have a chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened.”

Attacks Across Afghanistan Kill 24, Including 2 Health Workers

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Roadside bombs and insurgent attacks killed at least 24 people in five separate attacks across Afghanistan as violence steadily rises during this year's spring fighting season, officials said Wednesday. So far, April has been the deadliest month this year for Afghan and foreign civilians and security forces. According to an Associated Press tally, 182 people have been killed in violence around the nation this month. […] In northern Jowzjan province, police chief Aziz Ghayrat said insurgents opened fire on elders in a village and two health workers were killed in the crossfire.

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.

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.

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