Health Workers

Warning from a Mass Grave: Hospitals Under Attack

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Hospitals, their staff members and patients were protected by the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which declared that innocent civilians were to be spared in time of war. The conventions' additional protocols of 1977 stated specifically that, "The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations."

Into the Abyss: The Escalating Violence Against Pakistan's Polio Workers

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
So far in 2014, there have been 20 attacks on polio workers in Pakistan that have killed 32 people, according to data I collected using news reports; and the attacks are only escalating in lethality and violence. In 2013, there were 29 attacks against polio workers, killing 22 people; and in 2012, there were only nine attacks that resulted in the deaths of 10 people.

Doctors as Targets

Thursday, November 13, 2014
To the Editor: “Doing Good in Harm’s Way” (Giving section, Nov. 7) points out that though medical and relief workers should be protected, in fact they often become targets. I have had the opportunity to meet many doctors working in Syria, who tell me that they are targeted because they are medical professionals. Doctors, nurses and other health workers are often perceived to be the enemy because they treat people on all sides of the conflict. Since the start of the Syrian war, we have documented the deaths of 578 medical personnel and 207 attacks on medical facilities, with government forces overwhelmingly responsible for these crimes.

Red Cross Surgeon Calls for Greater Security in Conflict Zones to Protect Workers, Hospitals

Thursday, November 13, 2014
A visiting Red Cross surgeon has warned that health care workers need additional security in conflict zones, adding that the lack of protection is one of the biggest issues facing health care today. Dr Robin Coupland said governments, armed forces and the health care community must do more to make health care delivery safer around the world. Last year health personnel suffered more than 1,800 violent incidents. He said this in turn had a devastating effect on populations needing urgent health care.

Fixing Broken Health Systems in the Aftermath of Conflict

Thursday, November 20, 2014
Alongside the host of human tragedies, conflicts challenge efforts to ensure health, security and access to basic health care for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. Such populations are disproportionately represented in conflict-affected regions: chronic conflict causes chronic poverty and poverty causes conflict.

Resolution Focuses on Role of UN in Protecting Health Care from Violence

Thursday, November 20, 2014
The UN Global Health and Foreign Policy Group is proposing a resolution to the UN General Assembly focused on ensuring the safety of health workers in conflict and emergency situations. Diplomatic, global health, and humanitarian communities gathered in New York on November 5 to discuss.

Afghanistan: Protecting Medical Services Remains as Important as Ever

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
The ICRC has observed an increased number of attacks on medical personnel in Afghanistan in the past few months. Civilians have been prevented from reaching health facilities during the fighting. "We are concerned by the effects the increased fighting in the summer had on civilians and medical services," said Anthony Dalziel, the ICRC's head of operations for South Asia. "In a volatile environment such as the one in Afghanistan, it is especially important that people providing or receiving medical attention be spared at all times."

The Empty Pledge for Gaza

Sunday, October 19, 2014
The destruction of health services in Gaza is particularly alarming for women. The largest medical center suffered serious damage from attacks and medical workers fear that the closure of the hospital’s maternal health services for high-risk pregnancies will impact fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality rates.

Medical Help Scarce in Besieged Syrian City

Monday, October 20, 2014
A doctor inside the besieged Syrian city of Kobani described desperate conditions on the ground, with hospitals being targeted by Islamic State militants and an acute lack of medical workers and supplies. Walat Omar, one of only a handful of doctors who have stayed in Kobani, said many civilians—mostly elderly—remain in the predominantly Kurdish city, which has been under a monthlong siege by the extremist group.

States Must Do More to Stem "New & Frightening Trend" of Attacks Against Health Care

Thursday, September 25, 2014
A high-level panel during the United Nations General Assembly concluded States must take concrete action to ensure the protection of health care—particularly in situations of armed conflict and emergencies—and garnered support for an eventual UN resolution on the topic. Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, co-chaired the event with Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization.

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