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EU, ICRC and seven national societies highlight need to protect patients and health-care workers

04-10-2013 Feature

Joining forces to spotlight the lack of access to health care caused by violence, the European Union (EU), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and national Red Cross societies are bringing the "Health Care in Danger" campaign to seven European capitals. In the first days of October, striking images appeared in Brussels, Amsterdam and Madrid that will soon come to London, Berlin, Warsaw and Paris.

"In Europe, people are fortunate enough to be able to reach the nearest hospital safely, to count on their ambulance getting through unhindered and to expect to find the medicines they need in a pharmacy," said Yves Daccord, ICRC director-general. "Sadly, millions of people do not have this opportunity. In countries like Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia, to name just a few, there are wounded or sick people who are dying because hospitals have been bombed, ambulances held up and medical facilities looted."

"The lack of security arising from armed conflict and other violence has a major impact on health care,"

According to a study by the ICRC published in May this year, at least 921 violent incidents against health-care personnel, infrastructure and wounded or sick people took place in 2012.

"The lack of security arising from armed conflict and other violence has a major impact on health care," said Claus Sorensen, EU director-general for humanitarian aid and civil protection. "From Afghanistan to Colombia, from the Central African Republic to Mali, the problems facing health care arise both from the direct attacks on health workers and the often difficult access to medical facilities encountered by the wounded and the sick." 

Londoners alarmed by attacks on health care

Across the world, doctors, nurses and hospitals are coming under violent attack, preventing the injured and sick from obtaining treatment just when they need it most. On the streets of London, people reacted with alarm to the message in our hard-hitting posters highlighting the threat to healthcare in the world's conflict zones.


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Photo: Health Care in Danger campaign in Brussels, October 2013
Photographer: Thomas Vanden Driessche