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The August issue of The Nation’s Health, the official newspaper of the American Public Health Association (APHA), features a front-page article on violence against health workers. “Work to Document Violence against Health Workers Growing” includes remarks from Leonard Rubenstein, chair of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition.
Last Friday, a team of PHR staff and members of the PHR chapter of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine visited Congressional offices to advocate for the Medical Neutrality Protection Act. This Act is a bipartisan bill introduced in May 2013 by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA).
On July 3, 2013, a female health worker was killed in northwest Pakistan while conducting polio vaccinations; she was the latest to die in an on-going anti-vaccination campaign by militants. About three weeks earlier, on June 16, militants killed two male volunteers who were administering polio vaccines in northeast Pakistan.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and WHO, with support from the Office of Foreign Disaster Control, trained 50 staff from Syrian and Jordanian ministries of health and other organisations working in and around Syria in May, 2013, in Jordan. A third of Syria’s 21 million people are now displaced from their homes. Most of the north of Syria is rebel-held territory and local administration is no longer directed by the national administration. Patients have flooded into several hospitals in neighbouring countries, where Islamic charities are subsidising care.
The health and humanitarian response to the crisis in Syria is being severely hampered by a lack of coordination and insufficient funding, say public health doctors Adam Coutts and Fouad M Fouad. The Syrian conflict is now a humanitarian and public health catastrophe for the country and the region. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) António Guterres described the current situation as the greatest humanitarian disaster of the past two decades, requiring the largest-ever humanitarian appeal.
The death toll in Syria’s ongoing civil war may now be as high as 100,000. As the violence mounts, another emergency is looming: a public health crisis across the region. That’s the conclusion of a new study published by the British medical journal The Lancet. Syria’s health care system is near collapse. Outbreaks of disease are on the rise in the country, and refugees sheltered beyond the border are also at great risk.
Geneva (WMA / ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Medical Association (WMA) signed a memorandum of understanding in Geneva today, in which the two organizations agree to join forces in a worldwide effort to combat violence against patients and health-care workers.
Volunteers, who are paid a nominal honorarium for participating in the polio vaccination campaigns, find themselves in a vulnerable position in case of violence against them. The health department officials told Dawn that a woman volunteer developed cardiac problems and remained in hospital for a month after a policeman escorting her during a vaccination campaign in Mardan was targeted by gunmen. They said the woman hadn’t received any assistance from the government and was left at the mercy of Allah.
The Erdoğan government’s use of force in a clampdown on protesters over the weekend has precipitated a deepening human rights and political crisis in Turkey. Human Rights Watch documented a huge wave of arbitrary detentions and police attacks on people who were on hospital premises, as well as on a hospital itself and on makeshift health clinics. With the trade union confederations declaring a strike on June 17, 2013, there were signs of further clampdown on demonstrations in the evening.