Burkina Faso: Red Cross calls for respect for medical personnel

22 September 2015

Ouagadougou – Following the recent events in Ouagadougou, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Burkinabe Red Cross are reminding all those involved of the importance of respecting the wounded, health workers and facilities, and the red cross emblem.

Since the outbreak of the crisis, Burkinabe Red Cross first-aiders have been working tirelessly to administer first aid and take the more seriously wounded to medical facilities in the city, with the logistical and material support of the ICRC. On Friday 18 September alone, the Red Cross came to the aid of 24 wounded people.

Since Saturday, three Burkinabe Red Cross first-aid teams have also been providing a round-the-clock triage service and moral support to the wounded at Yalgado Ouédraogo University Hospital Centre in Ouagadougou. Nevertheless, despite their help, the Hospital Centre's management is concerned: "We are struggling to provide a basic service. We are short-staffed following a call to strike, while the medical staff are afraid to travel round the city because of the clashes. More than 100 wounded people have arrived at the hospital since last Wednesday, on top of the routine admissions. Fortunately the Red Cross is providing much-needed support." The ICRC has also donated surgical supplies to the hospital to help it cope with the influx of patients.

Under these circumstances, it is vital that medical personnel are able to do their work and that the wounded can be taken to hospital. "All the parties are opening roadblocks to let our teams through," said Lazare Zoungrana, secretary-general of the Burkinabe Red Cross. "No one is preventing them from delivering life-saving first aid. This is remarkable. But all medical personnel should enjoy this same protection so that they can safely reach and care for all the victims, regardless of who they are."

Red Cross teams are also on standby in Bobo-Dioulasso and other cities to respond to any situations that arise, with ICRC support.

For further information, please contact:

Vincent Pouget, ICRC Abidjan, tel: +225 09 399 404