ICRC workshop in Sa’ada promotes safe access to health care

Report
from International Committee of the Red Cross
Published on 25 Feb 2013

Sa'ada (ICRC): A workshop to discuss safe access to medical services for the sick and wounded took place in Sa’ada on Monday, 25th February 2013. Organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in cooperation with the governor, the local authorities and the Executive Council, the workshop is part of an ICRC global campaign to enhance knowledge about, and compliance with, the rules of international law that protect health facilities, personnel and transport during times of conflict and violence. " I am very pleased that we are able to raise awareness of this important issue, here today" said Benno Kocher, head of the ICRC's sub-delegation in Sa'ada during his opening speech. "Safe access to health care during times of violence and unrest is crucial, not only for those who are wounded during fighting, but also for those people needing preventive treatment, including antenatal care. It is also vital for the chronically sick who need regular medical care but cannot get it if health facilities are attacked, health workers are intimidated, or medical transport is prevented from taking patients to hospital."

The ICRC’s four-year ‘Health Care in Danger’ campaign, as it is called, has a worldwide reach. In Yemen, a national-level Health Care in Danger conference took place in Sana’a at the end of 2012, prior to which the Yemeni authorities signed a declaration summarizing the rules and principles that are intended to protect health services, the sick and the wounded. These rules and principles form part of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, which apply in Yemen as they do throughout the world. Yemen was the first country in the world to sign such a declaration.

The ICRC currently supports a number of health facilities throughout Yemen, providing them with medicines and medical supplies, equipment and furniture. It also provides on-the-job training for medical personnel including surgical staff. In Sa’ada governorate, the ICRC, in cooperation with the governor, the local authorities and the Executive Council supports a total of six health facilities..
The ICRC – which has been working in Yemen since 1962 -- provides humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by the various conflicts that have beset the country over the years. It has offices in Sana'a, Taiz, Aden, Amran and Sa'ada, and employs some 240 staff.