WMA welcomes New Campaign to Protect Healthcare in Conflict Zones

(12.08.2011) The World Medical Association today welcomed a new campaign by the International Committee of the Red Cross to improve the security and delivery of healthcare in situations of armed conflict. The campaign follows new evidence that physicians and other health personnel, as well as medical facilities, have been attacked in recent conflict zones in the Middle East.

Earlier this year doctors' leaders form the WMA expressed their alarm about the growing threats to physicians and medical personnel caught up in uprisings and mass protests throughout the world. They said that physicians involved in treating the wounded in several recent protects in the Middle East, in Mexico, India and Afghanistan, had been attacked, injured and tragically, killed.

Dr. Wonchat Subhachaturas, President of the WMA, said: ‘Now we have new evidence from the Red Cross analysing reports of 655 violent events affecting healthcare in 16 countries. This backs up our concern and makes it even more urgent for governments to ensure that appropriate conditions exist to allow physicians to carry out their ethical duty to treat patients.

‘The International Committee of the Red Cross is to be congratulated on its work highlighting this alarming development and we fully support their intention to work towards improving the security of healthcare facilities and strengthening the protection for those healthcare personnel who are working in such dangerous conditions'.