Health care is under attack. Attacks on healthcare is an increasingly present issue our world is facing however there is a lack of awareness on this issue among Healthcare students and the general public. Underreporting in the conflict times further hinder our understanding of types of threats, statistics and possible opportunities.
In 2018, the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition reported at least 973 attacks on health workers, health facilities, health transports, and patients in 23 countries in conflict. At least 167 health workers died and at least 710 were injured. This threatens the sanctity of health care, the right to health, and the International Humanitarian Law and its premises. Such attacks deprive the affected people of urgently needed care and aid, endanger health care providers, and undermine local and national healthcare systems. Further damage may manifest in different ways such as negative impact on the economy and thus result in a vicious cycle of chronic poverty. Socioeconomic dynamics and once safeguarded rights might be undermined resulting in an increase in the likelihood of gender based violence, oppressive behaviour from different groups and deliberate deprivation of international aids and of various resources.
As medical students and SCORPions, it is our duty to relay the correct acquisition of knowledge, firstly to ourselves, secondly, to our peers and to the international community, when possible regarding the increasing incidence of threats to healthcare. And this is the purpose of the Healthcare in Danger workshop.
The Healthcare in Danger workshop is organised and supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) project Healthcare in Danger (HCiD), with whom IFMSA has a long and fruitful collaboration on this matter.
This workshop aims to deliver the core knowledge of violence against health services, with particular emphasis on the impact of these attacks on sustainability of health systems. It covers various topics such as ethics, rights and responsibilities of the staff of health and pre-hospital personnel, emergency preparedness from a human rights based aspect, disaster risk reduction, issues related to international law and humanitarian law, international human rights, caregivers and patient safety as well as the role of communities to address and reduce violence against health care.