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Report of Health Care in Danger London Symposium


London, United Kingdom
23th April 2012




This Symposium was co-organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the British Red Cross, the British Medical Association and the World Medical Association. It was the first of a number of international consultations that are taking place as part of the Health Care in Danger project.

Participants and Venue
The symposium was hosted in the British Medical Association House, Tavistock Square (London).

18 speakers from 5 countries, represented 9 organizations, universities or administrations:
International Committee of the Red Cross (6); British Red Cross (2); British Medical Association (1); World Health Organization (1); Royal Navy Health Service (1); Médecins Sans Frontères International (1); Merlin (1); London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (1); Australian Centre for International and Tropical Health, University of Queensland (1); UCL Institute of Health Inequalities (1); Johns Hopkins Bloomburg, School of Public Health and the Berman Institute of Bioethics (1).

164 people, coming from 25 countries (the majority from UK), were attending the symposium.

ICMM representatives
The ICMM was represented by
Maj.Gen. Prof. ret. Marcel MERLIN (MD), Chairman of the Scientific Council;
Maj.Gen. Prof. Marc MORILLON (MD), Vice-Chairman of the Scientific Council.
Dr. Daniel MESSELKEN, University of Zurich, Chief Advisory Board/ Scientific Coordinator of the ICMM Reference Centre for Education on International Humanitarian Law and Ethics.

Symposium outline
After a "scene-setting" opening session, which gave participants a real picture of the nature and extent of the impact of insecurity on health and health care, three panel discussions took place.

Panel 1 - Building a community of concern
This panel discussed how the health community could generate a greater awareness at public and policy levels of the grave consequences of insecurity of health care.

Panel 2 - Recommendations by the health community to governments and intergovernmental organisations
This panel discussed recommendations from the health community to governments and intergovernmental organisations with respect to thesecurity of health care.

Panel 3 - Medical ethics in Health Care in Danger
This panel focused principally on issues relating to medical ethics.

This symposium is the first of many others, which will be held to address this theme more and more worrying of Health Cares in Danger. Military health personnel are directly concerned by this problem.

Health care is frequently suspended, withdrawn or rendered impossible by violent events. Thousands of wounded and sick people can be denied effective health care when hospitals are damaged by explosive weapons or forcibly entered by fighters, when ambulances are hijacked and when health-care personnel are threatened, kidnapped, injured or killed.

It is necessary to create a community of concern whose potential roles would be:
- Improve documentation of attacks on healthcare workers; analyse the context of these attacks.
- Estimate impacts on health and health care.
- Strengthen the voice of professional associations.
- Develop training of health personnel.