The World Health Organization condemned the attacks led by coup authorities in Sudan on medical workers and facilities, stressing the need to respect their sanctity and integrity.
The World Health Organization Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Ahmed al-Mandhari, said in a press statement on Tuesday that they were following “with great concern” the crisis in Sudan.
He pointed out that since last November, 15 attacks on health care workers and health facilities have been reported in Khartoum and other cities, 11 of which have been confirmed.
Al-Mandhari emphasized that most of these attacks were committed against health care workers, in the form of physical assault, obstruction, violent searches, psychological threats and intimidation.
Two incidents related to military raids and incursions into health care facilities were also reported.
According to the WHO regional director, these measures could severely restrict patients’ access to healthcare, which is particularly problematic given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other public health threats.
The press statement pointed out that there were reports of arrests of patients and health care workers, as well as injuries, detention, and forced searches of health workers.
“These incidents resulted in the suspension of emergency services in some health facilities, as well as the flight of patients and medical personnel without completing medical treatment,” he added.
He explained that the World Health Organization is also aware of the interception of ambulances, medical personnel, and patients as they attempted to seek safety.
The statement considered that these attacks, targeting health care workers, patients and facilities, are a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, and must stop immediately.
Enforcing the Law
The World Health Organization called for an immediate stop to all activities that endanger the lives of health care workers and patients or impede the provision of basic health services.
It also called on the Sudanese authorities to implement the Sudan Law to Protect Doctors, Medical Staff and Health Institutions for the year 2020, and to comply with it within the framework of international humanitarian law.