News release

Pakistan: Essay competition highlights violence against health staff

ICRC (Islamabad) – At an award ceremony today, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced the winners of its Essay Competition for 2016. The meeting was attended by Mr Zafarullah Khan, the special assistant to the prime minister on law and justice, along with representatives of civil society, hospitals, literary circles and the media. The topic this year was: "There is a growing trend of violence perpetrated by patient relatives in health-care settings. Why?"

Speaking at the event, Mr Khan said: "Violence in our hospitals is widespread, and is the manifestation of a general increase in violent attitudes in our society. Such competitions provide catharsis and an opportunity for us as a society to explore solutions." Reto Stocker, who heads the ICRC delegation in Pakistan, highlighted the organization's efforts to address violence against health staff, facilities and vehicles in the country: "We all – government, civil society, international organizations and the health community – have to join hands and make health care in Pakistan better and safer for patients and their relatives." Addressing everyone who took part in the competition, Mr Stocker said: "Keep up all your good work and continue spreading a positive message."

Every year, the ICRC organizes an essay competition on a topic related to humanitarian and social issues in Pakistan. This year, more than 400 entries from 50 towns across Pakistan were entered in the competition. The entries were judged by the ICRC and external examiners.

The winners in the Urdu category were: Riaz Ahmed Syed, the former director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (first prize); Mr Ali Ahmed Jan, a development professional and freelance writer (second prize); and Mr Rizwan Wilayat, a freelance writer (third prize). In the English category, the winners were: Ms Hina Hazrat, a student at Karachi University (first prize); Ms Kalsoom Nisar, a student at the International Islamic University (second prize); and Dr Muhammad Younas Varaichue, an ENT consultant at Bahawal Victoria Hospital (third prize). All the winners received an award; first and second place in each category also received prize money.

For more information, please contact:
Najum Abbasi, ICRC Pakistan, +92 300 852 9108