BAGHDAD, Feb. 27 ,, — The World Health Organization (WHO) strongly condemned Tuesday violent attacks against health workers in Iraq, calling on the Iraqi authorities to ensure safety of health workers.
A statement by WHO was issued after a health worker was physically assaulted while providing medical care for an ill female patient in her 70s in Azadi Teaching Hospital in Iraq’s northern province of Kirkuk.
“WHO calls on the authorities in Iraq to ensure the safety of health workers, health facilities, and the sanctity of health care,” the statement quoted Adham Rashad Ismail, acting WHO representative in Iraq, as saying.
“Such attacks constitute a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law and deprive the most vulnerable population of children, women, and the elderly of their rights to essential health services,” Ismail said.
In 2018, about 42 attacks against healthcare workers were registered by WHO in Iraq, among which 40 percent were against medical practitioners, according to the statement.
“It is imperative that the government of Iraq ensures that health workers are allowed to work at all times without risk, regardless of location, and patients and health facilities are protected,” it added.
The Iraqi Health Ministry said on its website that its minister Alaa al-Din al-Alwan received in his office the physician who was attacked in Kirkuk and confirmed his “full support to the health and administrative personnel in all the health institutions against any assault while they are performing their humanitarian duty.”