Attacks on health workers must stop, says WHPA

The World Health Professions Alliance, of which WCPT is a member, has called on World Health Organization member states to collect and publish data about attacks on health workers, facilities and patients during complex humanitarian emergencies. 

The WHPA put forward a statement at the meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May, during discussion on WHO’s role in meeting the growing demands of health humanitarian agencies. 

It said that health providers and those they serve deserve protection – yet in crises where health needs are most urgent, health care workers are at greatest risk of assault, arrest, obstruction of their duties, kidnapping and death. “The health community must mobilise to assure adherence to the principle of impartiality of health care in humanitarian emergencies,” said the WHPA statement.

It called for leadership at global level in developing methods for systematic collection and dissemination of data on attacks on health facilities, health workers, health transport and patients in complex humanitarian emergencies.

In a separate intervention at the WHA, the WHPA called for transparency in new WHO initiatives against counterfeit and substandard medical products. “We strongly support WHO’s fundamental role in ensuring the availability of quality, safe, efficacious and affordable medical products and urge that adequate financing be provided to WHO to continue this important role,” said the WHPA.

However, initiatives to tackle new channels for substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products (SSFFCs) – for example, the internet – required input and expertise from many sectors and stakeholders. The WHPA called for member states to ensure that efforts to counter SSFFCs involved civil society in a transparent and coordinated manner.