News / Africa

Report Says Health Workers Are Targets

A Pakistani health worker gives a polio vaccine to a child in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Pakistan’s health minister says the country is taking extra ordinary measures to meet the new situation it is going to face after polio travel restri
A Pakistani health worker gives a polio vaccine to a child in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Pakistan’s health minister says the country is taking extra ordinary measures to meet the new situation it is going to face after polio travel restri

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on attacks on health workers

Joe DeCapua
Health workers are frequently becoming targets in countries undergoing conflict or civil unrest. A new report says since 2012, hundreds have been attacked in dozens of countries.Human Rights Watch and the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition jointly issued the report called Under Attack.
 
Listen to De Capua report on attacks on health workers
Listen to De Capua report on attacks on health workersi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Joe Amon, HRW’s health and human rights director, “Well, there’s been an increasing number of attacks against health workers, against patients and against health facilities. And this is occurring really globally. We’ve seen it in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. And it’s really something that needs broader attention and really a vigorous response.”
 
The attacks include the killing of 70 polio vaccination workers in Pakistan and Nigeria. The report also accuses opposition forces in South Sudan of shooting patients, as well as looting and burning hospitals and clinics in Bentiu, Malakal and Bor.
 
“It’s clear that in some cases people are deliberately targeting health workers. They’re seen as providing care to the opposition, instead of being seen as neutral medical providers. In other cases they may be in a crossfire, but it’s interrupting and really destabilizing critical health services for civilians in these settings,” he said.
 
The report listed dozens of attacks, killings and abductions of health workers in Afghanistan. It said the country now has a shortage of qualified women providing medical care.
 
Amon dave other examples of growing danger. 
 
“We’re also seeing attacks in Turkey and Bahrain, for example, doctors being arrested and detained for providing care. It’s a phenomenon that’s of real concern. And I think the severity of the attacks is also increasing.”
 
The attacks have caused some hospitals and clinics to shut down.
 
“In some cases, yes,” said Amon,  “In Somalia and Central African Republic, that’s definitely occurred. And when that happens, it can leave thousands of people without any access to health care at all.”
 
The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders closed its hospital in the northern CAR town of Boguila. That followed an attack on April 26th.  Sixteen civilians were killed, including three of the group’s employees.
 
The Human Rights Watch official said a number of things can be done to protect health workers.
 
“One is we need more information when attacks occur. We need to get better security for health workers in these places. Countries that have criminalized the provision of care to protesters need to repeal those laws. And there needs to be general respect for the idea that medical providers are providing care without regard to politics -- and that they should be left out of conflict settings and not targeted at all.”
 
Amon said the international community can also do more.
 
“Next week, ministers [of] health from around the world are meeting in Geneva. And one of the things they’ll be looking at is a resolution from two years ago that they passed to do more on this issue -- to do more surveillance of the issue and to do more response for it. I think clearly the Human Rights Council, the ministers of health from these countries, the WHO, other agencies, can say that this is a real priority. These kinds of attacks undermine the basic security of access to health care that people need,” he said.
 
The health ministers will meet from May 19th through the 24th.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid