Health Workers Murdered as Pakistan Vaccinates

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Despite an army of police, vaccination workers in Pakistan are still being murdered in the midst of a public health initiative aimed at vaccinating 8.4 million children in one province against polio and several other diseases in just three months. The Health for All vaccination program, which runs Feb. 2 through April, is targets indigenous wild poliovirus, which is still endemic in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Of the three countries, only Pakistan is seeing an increase in cases. In January 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, “the world's largest reservoir of endemic poliovirus.”

South Africa: Experts Recommend Ways of Making Health Facilities More Secure

Thursday, April 10, 2014
Pretoria/Geneva (ICRC) – Community acceptance, provision of impartial treatment and psychosocial support for medical staff working under stress can all play key roles in making health-care facilities more secure amid armed conflict or other emergencies. These are some of the recommendations that emerged from a workshop that took place in Pretoria, South Africa, this week as part of the “Health Care in Danger” project on the dangers facing health-care services.

World Health Day: Attacks on Patients and Health Personnel Continue

Friday, April 4, 2014
Geneva (ICRC) – On the occasion of World Health Day, 7 April, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is issuing a report on "Violent incidents affecting the delivery of health care," based on a large number of recorded cases, to raise awareness of attacks on people seeking or providing health care.

The Shots Heard Around the World

Friday, April 4, 2014
New shots are jeopardizing humanity’s battle to eradicate polio, and they don't include syringes or vaccines. Rather, they’re the gunshots of Islamic terrorists. The fight to eliminate polio is now imperiled, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), by “insecurity, targeted attacks on health workers and/or a ban by local authorities on polio immunization,” and violence in the Middle East. In a March 2014 report, the organization warned that the virus, which existed in only three countries at the dawn of 2012, is now returning to places from which it had been eradicated, and “risk of further international spread remains high, particularly in central Africa (especially from Cameroon), the Middle East, and the Horn of Africa.”

Attack on Polio Team: Female Worker Killed in Bannu

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
A female polio worker was gunned down by two armed men on a motorcycle in the cantonment area of Bannu on Monday. The shooting occurred at around 8:30 in the morning, according to Deputy Superintendent of Police Sanaullah Khan Marwat. Marwat identified the victim as Fehmida Yasmeen, wife of Sattar Shah, a resident of Sokari Zabita Khan. Yasmeen was shot dead while she was going to a market near Abi Talha Masjid in Bannu cantonment.

Sometimes Laughter Is the Only Medicine

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The severe lack of medical supplies in Syria has been well documented by both the media and humanitarian and human rights groups. Humanitarian missions are blocked, supply trucks are targeted for attack, and those attempting to move critical medical supplies into Syria put their lives at risk. There are insufficient supplies of nearly everything needed by doctors and their patients – everything except laughter.

Pakistan Polio Vaccinator's Murder by Militants Raises Health Workers' Fears

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
The unusual night-time kidnapping and brutal murder of a female polio vaccinator in the troubled Pakistani city of Peshawar has heightened fears among health workers struggling to stamp out the virus in the face of violent opposition from militant groups. The body of Salma Farooqi, a 30-year-old who had been involved for years in Peshawar’s battle against polio, was recovered from a field 4km (2.5 miles) from her home on Monday, a day after armed men stormed her house, tied up family members and took her away.

Call for Papers: Theme Issue on Attacks on Health Workers in Conflict Zones

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
World Health & Population is seeking submissions of original manuscripts for a theme issue on the nature and impacts of attacks on health workers in conflict zones, to be published in Fall 2014. The issue’s guest editors are Leonard S. Rubenstein and Katherine Footer of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Joseph Amon of Human Rights Watch.

Targeted for Doing Their Job: Doctors in Syria Forced to Flee

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Mohammed is one of 15,000 Syrian doctors who was forced out of his country, unable to continue treating the wounded in a bloody conflict that forced the United Nations to stop counting the dead. In late 2012, he was working as a field doctor in rural Damascus when he became the target of a brutal crackdown on those providing medical assistance to the injured in opposition-held areas.

Council Holds Panel Discussion on Importance of Promotion and Protection of Civil Society Space

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The Human Rights Council this afternoon held a panel discussion on the importance of the promotion and protection of civil society space. The discussion included a video message from Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary-General, and a statement from the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.