Bangladesh: Round table focuses on preventing violence against health staff

Over 40 incidents of violence against health-care workers have been reported at the emergency department of Cox’s Bazar District Sadar Hospital since July 2019. This information was shared during a round-table discussion held recently in Cox’s Bazar District Sadar Hospital, organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Participating in a day-long discussion, hospital managers, emergency doctors, medical and support staff shared their experience of violence and what they have witnessed while on the job at the emergency department. They shared that, in most incidents, patients' stressed attendants and relatives took to physical and verbal violence when the hospital authorities tried to restrict the number of attendants per patient to ensure efficient treatment.

Explaining why and how the ICRC is working to address this issue, ICRC delegate Marc Weil said, "We are working with the hospital management on several initiatives to address violent incidents against health workers. One such initiative – one attendant per patient policy – was implemented for all patients seeking care and we can see its effectiveness in reducing tensions inside the emergency department. Other initiatives such as engaging with health-care workers and support staff, conducting stress management training for them and carrying out public awareness campaigns have also improved the working conditions of health workers and resulted in better conditions for patients as well."


The ICRC, in partnership with the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB), conducted a national study to highlight the prevalence of violence against health-care workers. Looking at cases of almost 2,000 health staff across Bangladesh, the study shows the impact of violence on the well-being of health-care providers. It is the first time such a study has been undertaken in Bangladesh and the findings will be released soon in coordination with the Division of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).


The ICRC, in close partnership with Cox's Bazar District Sadar Hospital management, has been working to improve emergency department operations and health-care services since July 2019.