World Doctors Protest Over Denial Of Health Care To Women In Afghanistan

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A new resolution condemning the denial of health care to the female population of Afghanistan has been approved by the World Medical Association at its annual General Assembly in Hamburg, Germany.

Dr Anders Milton, chairman of the WMA Council said: "The WMA has always fought for the rights of the patient in having free access to health care, unhindered by political decisions. In Afghanistan it has been made illegal for female doctors and other female health personnel to practice in the community.

"This is a clear violation of human rights in two ways. It denies female doctors and nurses the right to practice their profession. But is also denies the female population in Afghanistan the right to the health care they need because there are also restrictions on them being treated by male doctors.

"This impairs health care in a country where there is a desperate shortage of health care.

"The WMA is urging all its national medical association members to take this matter up with their national governments."

The meeting also approved a proposal for the establishment of a new United Nations post of rapporteur on the independence and integrity of health professionals. The new rapporteur would be charged with the task of monitoring that doctors are allowed to move freely and that patients have access to medical treatment, without discrimination on religious or ethnic grounds, in war zones or in situations of political tension.