News / Africa

WHO: Protect Health Workers

A member of the joint U.N. African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), right, escorts three freed humanitarian workers out of a U.N. helicopter as they landed in El Fasher, North Darfur, Sudan, Saturday, July 19, 2014. The international peacekeeping mission in Sudan's Darfur region said three aid workers have been freed after over a month in captivity. The mission said the three were among 25 humanitarian workers abducted by armed men in North Darfur on June 18. The statement says 20 were released on the same day and two others were freed two weeks later. (AP Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID)
A member of the joint U.N. African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), right, escorts three freed humanitarian workers out of a U.N. helicopter as they landed in El Fasher, North Darfur, Sudan, Saturday, July 19, 2014. The international peacekeeping mission in Sudan's Darfur region said three aid workers have been freed after over a month in captivity. The mission said the three were among 25 humanitarian workers abducted by armed men in North Darfur on June 18. The statement says 20 were released on the same day and two others were freed two weeks later. (AP Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID)

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

The World Health Organization warns of a growing trend of targeting health workers and hospitals during conflicts and humanitarian crises. The U.N. agency issued the warning to mark World Humanitarian Day, August 19th.

Listen to De Capua report on World Humanitarian Day
Listen to De Capua report on World Humanitarian Dayi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

The World Health Organization said that “major emergencies around the world are increasing in scale, complexity and frequency.” It said that’s denying many people their “fundamental right to health.”

Dr. Richard Brennan, director of the WHO’s Department of Emergency Risk Management and Humanitarian Response, said, “Over the last 80 months is probably the busiest period in the history of humanitarian work. And that’s due to a number of high profile and very impactful emergencies in places such as Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Iraq and the Ebola epidemic right now in West Africa. Not to mention all the other crises are aren’t quite as prominent, such as Somalia and Yemen and Eastern Congo.”

The recent conflict in Gaza is another example. Health workers, clinics, patients and ambulances have been deliberately targeted in those conflicts.

Brennan said that denies people medical care when they need it most. In Pakistan and Nigeria, those administering polio vaccines, have been attacked. Most of them are women. Dr. Brennan called it a violation of international law.

“It’s abandonment of this widely held principle that’s been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years, of the sanctity of health care.”

He said the main victims of conflicts in the 21st Century are civilians.

“We’re seeing this terribly right now in northern Iraq, of course. But we’ve seeing it in South Sudan, in Central African Republic. In Central African Republic, you’ve seen whole religious and ethnic groups forced from their communities. Religious and ethnic cleansing. And underlying all of this are political issues. And unfortunately the political leaders, the community leaders, aren’t stepping forward to address the underlying causes and it’s left to the humanitarians to come in and apply band aid measures, essentially.”

Millions of people, he said, are suffering as a result. The WHO official has a message for the leaders of the warring parties.

“For the leaders of those groups, I’d ask them to move beyond their own greed, their own lust for power, their own pride. And sit down with their counterparts and come up with a compromise so their people can live in peace,” he said.

The World Health Organization says it’s working with its partners to “better document, prevent and respond” to attacks on health workers. It calls caring for the “sick and vulnerable in the world’s most difficult circumstances…one of the most pressing responsibilities of the international community.” 

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid