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.
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The Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff are often amongst the first to bring lifesaving treatment in armed conflict and other emergencies. Improving safe access to health care is their daily challenge in the field.
The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent continue to provide millions of Syrians in both government- and opposition-held areas with emergency relief and clean water. Last month, after receiving government approval to deliver aid across front lines, the ICRC substantially increased its assistance to health-care facilities in opposition-held territory.
Amid the violence that has engulfed Yemen during the past six months, the ICRC has managed to respond to the growing needs of the victims. However, more must be done to ensure that medical personnel and facilities are spared the effects of the fighting.
Providing First Aid is not simply a matter of stopping bleeding, bandaging a wound or taking an injured person to hospital. It also involves taking someone’s hand, reassuring the frightened, giving a bit of one’s self. In armed conflicts and other situations of violence, first responders and First Aiders face many dangers, including stray bullets, shrapnel and collapsing buildings, but also threats and overstress. They bravely help the wounded when the most natural reflex would be to flee.
Health Care in Danger, an ambitious project of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, was on the agenda of the 2013 Council of Delegates that took place in Sydney, Australia. During a dedicated workshop, representatives of more then 70 national societies shared experiences and discussed how they can help improve safe access to health care.
Since early July, intensified intercommunal violence in South Sudan in the state of Jonglei has resulted in hundreds of people being wounded or killed. South Sudan Red Cross volunteers provide life-saving first aid to people in need in areas where health care is not easily accessible.
After dozens of people lost their lives and several others were injured in tribal clashes between 21 and 23 February, the ICRC and the Sudanese Red Crescent Society delivered medical supplies to the hospital in Al Sireaf and evacuated seriously wounded patients from the North Darfur town.
Dozens of people are dying every day because of limited access to proper health-care services and shortages of essential medical supplies. The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are doing their utmost to help save lives by donating much-needed supplies throughout the country.
Why is impartiality such an important Red Cross / Red Crescent principle? Dr Amal Imam, a doctor and volunteer for the Egyptian Red Crescent, explains with first-hand accounts why being impartial and neutral is so very vital to our work, particularly when providing emergency medical care.
Video series – For some people in the Kivus, getting emergency medical treatment is now the stuff of miracles, in part due to direct threats to the wounded and the medical staff attending to them.
This case study demonstrates how crucial the application of the Fundamental Principles, in tandem with uniform strategies based on the Safer Access Framework, has been in making it safer for the LRC to provide emergency medical services throughout Lebanon.
Mogadishu has suffered 20 years of conflict, causing thousands of deaths and injuries. But amidst the suffering, medical staff at Medina hospital, led by Dr Mohamed Yusuf, offer a life-line, treating the war-wounded and tending the sick, despite several direct attacks on the hospital and threats to its staff.
Malaria is the number one cause of death in the Central African Republic. The ICRC has been carrying out a pilot project to tackle this scourge since September 2011 in Obo, in the south-east of the country.