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The UN Human Rights Council should act to end the growing number of attacks on health workers, a group of human rights, health professionals and NGOs said on Friday.
At a side event of the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, speakers from Turkey, Bahrain and Pakistan denounced attacks on healthcare workers while providing care to politically unpopular groups or because they witnessed rights violations. (Read: What India can learn from Cuba s healthcare system)
Other recent attacks have targeted vaccination teams and ambulances. The attacks often receive little attention and no one is held accountable.
'When health workers and hospitals are attacked, people are prevented from getting medical care or are afraid to seek treatment, and trained professionals flee areas where they are urgently needed,' said Leonard Rubenstein, chairman of the coalition.
'If people who attack healthcare workers get away with it, the consequence can be the collapse of the health system and even greater suffering.'
Speakers called for increased funding to train health professionals and to make health infrastructure safer and more secure.
Mirzali Azhar, general secretary of the Pakistan Medical Society, said: 'Volunteers supporting the health and development agenda in Pakistan are neither welcome nor safe.' (Read: Acute shortage of healthcare providers in the country )
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