Attacks against health care in Syria, 2015–16: results from a real-time reporting tool

The Lancet, 390(10109), p2278–2286
Authors: Mohamed Elamein, Hilary Bower, Camilo Valderrama, et al.
“The data system used in this study addressed double-counting, reduced the effect of potentially biased self-reports, and produced credible data from anonymous information. The MVH tool could be feasibly deployed in many conflict areas. Reliable data are essential to show how far warring parties have strayed from international law protecting health care in conflict and to effectively harness legal mechanisms to discourage future perpetrators.”
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Medics as force multipliers around Mosul—at the expense of medical ethics?

The BMJ Opinion, 14 June 2017
Author: Jonathan Whittall
“But there is also a vital role for independent civilian health providers, such as MSF, to operate in accordance with the basic principles of impartiality and medical ethics. Independent health facilities allow patients who do not feel safe going to military installations to still access care, whereas the marriage between medicine and the military limits the safe options available to patients. If healthcare is only carried out as a component of the overall military strategy, it undermines the very basis of medical ethics.”
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Suicide rate among defence veterans far higher than for those currently serving

The Guardian, 30 March 2017
Author: Gareth Hutchens
“The rate of suicide among current serving Australian defence force (ADF) members is much lower than the general population, but higher for those who have left the force, particularly if under 30 years of age. The National Mental Health Commission says the reason for this phenomenon needs to be better understood, requiring further investigation. The Commission says more needs to be done to ensure suicide and self-harm is prevented among current and former ADF personnel.”
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‘Do no harm’ vs. ‘legitimate use of force’

EurekAlert, 16 March 2017
Source: University of Montreal
“Should a military doctor obey an order to not treat an enemy combatant? Or certify a sick soldier as fit to fight? Should a nurse take part in interrogations? Ride along on medical caravans to build trust with locals? Violate patient privacy for military ends? These and other questions are being studied by Canadian researchers with the Ethics in Military Medicine Research Group. Their latest paper, published in December in the winter issue of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, compares the ethics codes of the Canadian Medical Association and the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. ”
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Study shows healthcare in Syria now a target of war

Reuters, 14 March 2017
Author: Kate Kelland
“The international community must do more to protect healthcare in Syria as medical services become targets of war, according to a study published in The Lancet medical journal on Tuesday. Published to mark the sixth anniversary of the Syrian crisis, the study used data from multiple sources to assess the conflict’s impact on health care and health workers. Researchers said there were almost 200 attacks on health centers last year alone and said a key feature of the weaponisation of healthcare is the repeated targeting of medical facilities with the aim of shutting them down.”
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Personal factors affecting ethical performance in healthcare workers during disasters and mass casualty incidents in Iran: a qualitative study

Med Health Care and Philos (2017). doi:10.1007/s11019-017-9752-7
Authors: Mehrzad Kiani, Mohsen Fadavi, Hamidreza Khankeh, Fariba Borhani
“In emergencies and disasters, ethics are affected by both personal and organizational factors. Given the lack of organizational ethical guidelines in the disaster management system in Iran, the present study was conducted to explain the personal factors affecting ethics and ethical behaviors among disaster healthcare workers.”
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Medical care and social justice in the jungles of Myanmar

The Lancet, 2016, 388 (10058), p2345–2347
Author: Timothy Holtz
“The past year was the worst year for displacement since World War 2. In 2015 alone, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there were an estimated 12·4 million newly displaced individuals, including 8·6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and 1·8 million refugees, quadrupling the number of newly displaced people in just 4 years. The sudden and urgent plight of persons from Syria caught up in a civil war is well known, but for more than 60 years the ethnic Kayin (Karen) in eastern Myanmar (Burma) have been enduring human rights violations, oppression, and displacement in their long struggle for human rights and autonomy.”
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WHO calls for immediate safe evacuation of the sick and wounded from conflict areas

World Health Organization, 30 September 2016
“WHO is calling on belligerents in Syria to allow for the immediate and safe evacuation of the sick and wounded from all areas affected by the conflict, including eastern Aleppo. The Organization is also calling for a halt of attacks on health care workers and facilities.”
Find news release here.

Aleppo’s dying children and shattered health system: is there light at the end of the tunnel?

The Conversation, 23 August 2016
Author: Zaher Sahloul
“The Syrian crisis is now in its fifth year. The country’s health services are under unprecedented strain due to the protracted war, deliberate targeting of health staff and infrastructure by the Syrian regime and Russian forces, the exodus of physicians and nurses, shortages of medical supplies and medications and the disruption of medical education and training.”
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Children on Nauru deserve Royal Commission

MJA, 22 August 2016
Author: Nicholas Talley
“Should we, a highly educated profession which knows the overwhelming evidence that detention is causing harm, speak out even more loudly and forcefully and insist on change? I would argue yes. Laws that unnecessarily limit free speech, like the Australian Border Force Act 2015, and secrecy provisions that protect governments, not their citizens, should be removed from the statute books. I would go further; we should lobby for constitutional amendments that better protect all our rights. I welcome the interest that the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has expressed in the case of the Nauru children, but they deserve more.”
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