Health care in danger: making the case
11-08-2011 Publication Ref. 4072
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This publication draws attention to one of the most crucial yet overlooked humanitarian issues of today: violence against health care. Attacking health-care structures and personnel, and ambulances – as well as deliberately obstructing the efforts of the wounded to find help – are common features of conflicts throughout the world.
The ICRC has been documenting violence against health-care facilities and personnel, and against patients. The number of incidents that have been recorded is striking. But statistics represent only the tip of the iceberg: they do not capture the compounded cost of violence – health-care staff leaving their posts, hospitals running out of supplies and vaccination campaigns coming to a halt. These knock-on effects dramatically limit access to health care for entire communities, many of whose members may be suffering from chronic or war-related health problems. Deliberate attacks on health-care facilities and personnel, and on patients and medical vehicles virtually always violate international law. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is running a major campaign wto raise awareness of this pressing issue, and mobilizing a community of concern. This global initiative aims at making a crucial difference for people affected on the ground.