Bioethics News

Attacks on Health Care Workers

by Maryalice Yakutchik
via The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


People who live in fragile and conflict-affected states have been largely left behind, even by the field of global health, says Leonard Rubenstein, JD, LLM, senior scientist at the Bloomberg School’s Center for Public Health and Human Rights, and faculty member at the Berman Institute of Bioethics.


That’s a lot of people left behind.


In fact, almost one and a half billion people live in these countries, a number expected to grow to 1.9 billion by 2030. They are one-fifth of the world’s population, representing more than 43 percdent of people living on less than $1.25 a day.


Exacerbating their misery resulting from poverty and weak health systems are persistent, brutal attacks that destroy facilities, kill doctors, nurses and patients, force health workers to flee, and deter access to care.


Ignored though they are by most, vocal pockets are championing their cause.


“Our School has been at the forefront of raising the visibility of the problem, providing research studies to show its dynamics and impacts, engaging key international institutions to address it, collaborating with key partners in the field and advocating to stop the attacks,” said Rubenstein, having just concluded a panel discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.


The panel’s focus: those who are losing lives to save lives; healthcare workers targeted by not only ramshackle regimes and terrorist groups, but also major states (most notably Syria), for the “crime” of providing healthcare.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.