Colombia: International seminar seeks ways to better protect health services

28-07-2014 News Release 13/133

Bogota/Geneva (ICRC) – An international seminar on "Humanitarian consequences of the lack of respect and protection for health services," organized by Colombia's Ministry of Health and Social Protection with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Colombian Red Cross and the Norwegian Red Cross, will take place in Bogota, Colombia, from 29 to 31 July. International organizations and public health authorities and National Red Cross Societies from 12 Latin American countries will attend.

Participants will include Alejandro Gaviria, Colombia's health and social protection minister, Fernando José Cárdenas Guerrero, president of the Colombian Red Cross, and Jordi Raich, head of the ICRC delegation in Colombia.

"Health services must be allowed to carry out their activities unhindered, as many lives depend on them," declared Mr Guerrero. "The ICRC and the Colombian Red Cross are working together with the Colombian government to find ways to better protect health services in Colombia. During the 2013 farmers' strike for example, five convoys carrying medical supplies were organized in response to the humanitarian emergency."

In many countries, health personnel work under unsafe conditions, which adversely affect the medical attention they can provide for the sick and the wounded. "This seminar," said Bruce Eshaya-Chauvin, an ICRC medical adviser based in Geneva, Switzerland, "will facilitate the exchange of good practices to mitigate the effects of security problems faced by health services."

For further information, please contact:
Patricia Rey, ICRC Bogota, tel: +57 311 491 07 89
Lina Paola Díaz, Colombian Red Cross, tel: +57 312 351 96 11
Alexis Heeb, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 218 76 10