News, blog posts, and event announcements. Other websites are welcome to cross-post this material with attribution and a link to the original.
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.
Jerusalem: The WHO oPt released a report today, March 5, 2013, which details the difficulties that thousands of Palestinian patients encounter in obtaining Israeli permits to access specialized health care in East Jerusalem, Jordan and Israel. Restrictions also affect access into Jerusalem for ambulances and health personnel from the West Bank to the East Jerusalem hospitals.
A UN commission of inquiry on Syria issued a report on the deteriorating situation of human rights in the country. Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic includes language relating to health workers and facilities.
First Pakistan, now Nigeria. Polio workers murdered on the job. Between December and January, at least 16 polio workers were killed in Pakistan, according to Reuters—and today, nine female health workers were slain in northern Nigeria, also while working on a polio eradication campaign. In the mountainous countryside of Pakistan, health workers often walk long distances to reach the population they serve.