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Health workers in northern Syria have reported a dramatic rise in cases of Leishmaniasis--locally dubbed “Aleppo Button Disease” for the sores it produces--and are calling on the World Health Organization and other international agencies for help. Leishmaniasis, transmitted through the bite of the common sandfly, is a complex of diseases affecting different parts of the body. The kind most commonly found in Syria is called cutaneous Leishmaniasis, which is characterized by welts or sores on the skin.
Five health workers have been killed when South Sudan soldiers attacked a hospital in revenge for the deaths of eight members of the security forces, the local MP has told the BBC. David Mayo said the fighting was still going on and urged the army to be withdrawn. Local community leaders confirm that the hospital in the village of Lorema, Eastern Equatoria state, was attacked.
We at IntraHealth are keeping those who were injured and affected by the bombings at Monday’s Boston Marathon in our thoughts this week. The act of cruelty took three lives and inflicted gruesome, life-changing injuries on many others. Some athletes who were in top condition just a few days ago will never run again. But many are alive today because of the doctors, surgeons, and nurses who were ready and able to treat their injuries as soon as they rolled in the door.
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.
On April 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Harvard University’s Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research is hosting a live webinar. Health Under Fire: The Targeting of Medical Workers in Conflict Zones will address a number of legal, political, and professional dilemmas that this situation presents and will consider the following questions:
The New York Times published a letter from Leonard Rubenstein in response to the March 24 article, “In Syria’s Civil War, Doctors Find Themselves in Cross Hairs.” “Syria’s arrest, imprisonment, torture and murder of doctors and nurses for providing medical care to its enemies warrants not only condemnation but also referral to the United Nations Security Council for prosecution for war crimes,” Rubenstein wrote.
At the twenty-second session of the Human Rights Council in March, the council passed a resolution on children and the right to health (Rights of the child: the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health). In a section on “Health issues relating to children requiring special attention,” the council included language on children affected by armed conflicts. Paragraphs 25 and 27 are of particular interest to the work of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition:
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs published a new report on the complex emergency situation in Mali. The report highlights some of the current challenges the health system is still facing in the wake of armed conflict in the North, along with updates from other sectors. The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) continues to grow, with 3,500 newly displaced people adding to their ranks over the last several weeks around Talhandak, in the Kidal region.
Two Perspective articles in the March 21 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine focus on the need to safeguard health in conflict situations. In Security of Health Care and Global Health, Robin Coupland shares her views on threats to health care during conflicts. These threats are “not just an issue for humanitarian aid agencies,” she argues.
As the Syrian crisis passes the two-year mark, refugees number over one million, 70,000 people have died and 350,000 have been injured, and the health system is severely disrupted. On March 15 the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean issued a situation report describing the effects of the crisis on health in the region.