“It’s a matter of life and death!”- ICRC and Iraqi MOH lauch a campaign to stop violence against medical personnel and facilities in Iraq
Organized jointly by the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment and the International Committee of the Red Cross
Baghdad (ICRC) – “Health Care in Danger” is a public awareness campaign launched by the Iraqi Ministry of Health and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) with the support of a wide range of partners including the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, as part of the wider ICRC global Health Care in Danger (HCiD) initiative aimed at addressing the issue of violence against patients, health workers, health facilities and vehicles, and ensuring safe access to, and impartial delivery of health care during armed conflict and other emergencies.
The campaign has been launched on 12th November and it will last until 21st November. The aim of the campaign is to focus the attention on healthcare providers’ lives which are often threatened by others. The issue of violence against prehospital operators is not such a piece of news, but in Iraq where cases of war backgrounds, civil violence and struggles are daily matters, a sanitary presence is so important. Medical personnel and operators must be protected and must have the right to perform their life-saving work in a safe environment.
According ICRC, statistics report that the medical profession is the most exposed to violence among all professions and that local staff is most at risk. In Iraq, threats affecting health workers and services go beyond violence directly linked to armed conflict. Other types of violence are prevalent, such as reprisals against health professionals in the form of verbal or physical abuse, threats, kidnapping or even killing. Afraid for their safety, many of them have left the country. According to a survey conducted by the Health and Environment Volunteer Team, in Baghdad, 70% of health personnel have expressed the wish to emigrate for this reason, while 98% responded that the number of health professionals leaving the country would decrease if a secure working environment could be guaranteed.