Health Care in Danger exhibition at SHAPE, NATO

23 September 2015

"Health Care in Danger - an issue for our times" hosted at NATO SHAPE

In the second half of September,  SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) hosted the "Health Care in Danger - an issue for our times" exhibition.  SHAPE is the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO), one of NATO's two strategic military commands. It is located close to the Belgian city of Mons. ACO is responsible for all Alliance military operations.

The photo exhibition "Health Care in Danger: An issue for our times" is composed of pairs of rare photographs, each telling similar stories although coming from very different places and times in history. From the Serbo-Turkish war to contemporary Syria, the images show that violence against health care is not a recent phenomenon and has never been confined to one place or one period. Even 150 years ago, and in various parts of the world, ambulances were attacked or denied free passage, medical personnel targeted, and pharmacies looted; and because of this, far too often, people who needed medical attention died. Together with the photo exhibition, a replica of a bullet-ridden ambulance was displayed right next to the central roundabout of SHAPE to remind staff and visitors about the staggering reality of violence against health care.

Violence against patients and health-care workers is one of the most crucial yet overlooked humanitarian issues today. The Health Care in Danger project is a Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement initiative aiming to improve security and delivery of impartial and efficient health care in armed conflict and other emergencies. Violence against health care must end.