World Medical Association strengthens opposition to capital punishment #deathpenalty


  • SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2012

The World Medical Association has strengthened its opposition to capital punishment with a resolution at its recent conference in Bangkok that “physicians will not facilitate the importation or prescription of drugs for execution.”
It also reaffirmed previous resolutions that “it is unethical for physicians to participate in capital punishment, in any way, or during any step of the execution process, including its planning and the instruction and/or training of persons to perform executions”, and that physicians “will maintain the utmost respect for human life and will not use medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat.”
In any case, campaigners against the death penalty in the US are successfully lobbying to block supply of lethal drugs for executions. Maya Foa, head of the lethal injection project at the anti-death penalty organisation Reprieve, told a conference in London in mid-October, “Executions in certain states can’t go ahead because they’ve run out of drugs and others are running out.”
Reprieve has launched what it calls a “Pharmaceutical Hippocratic Oath” for drug companies which pledge themselves not to supply lethal drugs for executions. Under the oath, companies pledge that:
“We dedicate our work to developing and distributing pharmaceuticals to the service of humanity; we will practice our profession with conscience and dignity; the right to health of the patient will be our first consideration; we condemn the use of any of our pharmaceuticals in the execution of human beings.”
1 US company, Hospira, still supplies a paralyzing agent, pancuronium, which is part of a 3-drug cocktail for executions. Reprieve says that this drug is cause for particular concern, as it renders prisoners unable to signal that they are suffering agonising pain as the final, lethal substance is injected.
Source: BioEdge, November 3, 2012

WHO’s role in documenting attacks on health workers and facilities


Public Health Dentistry

Public Health Dentistry (Photo credit: Trinity Care Foundation)

World Health Assembly adopts resolution on WHO’s role in documenting attacks on health workers and facilities

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

 

At the 65th session of the World Health Assembly last week, an important resolution was adopted on WHO leadership in collecting and disseminating data on attacks on health care in complex humanitarian emergencies.

 

Health providers are on the frontline during complex humanitarian emergencies. They, as well as their patients, deserve protection. However, in situations of crisis and armed conflictt, health-care workers are at greatest risk of assault, arrest, obstruction of their duties, kidnapping and death. Health facilities and ambulances are also at risk of attack.

 

Complex humanitarian emergencies

Resolution (EB130.R14) is titled WHO’s response, and role as the health cluster lead, in meeting the growing demands of health in humanitarian emergencies. Among others, this resolution states “that there is a need of systematic data collection on attacks or lack of respect for patients and/or health workers, facilities and transports in complex humanitarian emergencies.”

The resolution thus calls on the Director-General of WHO: “… to provide leadership at the global level in developing methods for systematic collection and dissemination of data on attacks on health facilities, health workers, health transports, and patients in complex humanitarian emergencies, in coordination with other relevant United Nations bodies, other relevant actors, and intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, avoiding duplication of efforts.”

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 29, 2012
Contact: David Nelson, IntraHealth International, tel. 919-313-9139

May 29, Washington, DC—The Safeguarding Health in Conflictcoalition commends the World Health Assembly—the governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO)—on its unprecedented step to protect the lives of health workers and patients in humanitarian crises by spearheading global efforts to document the number of attacks on medical services.

In violent conflicts, where health needs are most urgent, health workers are at risk of assault, arrest and sometimes kidnapping and death, compromising their ability to deliver care and remain on the job. But such attacks usually go unreported; with a body of evidence, the global community can better protect fragile health systems and those on the frontlines. “Systematic data collection will be the basis for developing prevention strategies and holding perpetrators accountable,” said Maurice I. Middleberg, vice president for global policy at IntraHealth International.

The Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition urged passage of the new World Health Assembly resolution—requiring the WHO to lead international data collection of attacks on health workers, facilities, transports and patients—for more than a year, and on Friday, WHO member states at the 65th  World Health Assembly in Geneva adopted it.

Health care services and the health workers who provide them are never more desperately needed, but never more vulnerable, than when violence convulses a society,” said Leonard Rubenstein, senior scholar at the Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Numerous organizations joined coalition members in a statement encouraging the WHO member states to adopt the resolution so that the work of developing methods to collect data and report on attacks can commence. The statement was made on behalf of the World Health Professional Alliance, which includes the World Medical Association, International Council of Nurses, International Pharmaceutical Federation, World Confederation for Physical Therapy and World Dental Federation, and the statement was supported by the American Public Health Association, CARE, Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Doctors for Human Rights, International Health Protection Initiative, International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organisations, International Medical Corps, International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, International Rescue Committee, IntraHealth International, Management Sciences for Health, Medact, Merlin, Physicians for Human Rights, Women’s Refugee Commission and World Federation of Public Health Associations. Going forward, the coalition will advocate for effective implementation of the World Health Assembly resolution.

The Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition promotes respect for international humanitarian and human rights laws that relate to the safety and security of health facilities, workers, ambulances and patients during periods of armed conflict or civil violence. Founding members include IntraHealth International, Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Doctors for Human Rights, International Council of Nurses, International Health Protection Initiative, Karen Human Rights Group, Medact, Merlin – UK and Physicians for Human Rights.