The World Medical Association (WMA) has highlighted concerns over what it has described as a “rising tide of violence” against physicians and health professionals.
The association says it has recently received reports of physicians being assaulted in Germany, India and Bangladesh, as well as in Central and South America, and it is now calling for security posts to be provided in all healthcare facilities to combat incidents of violent attacks against healthcare professionals and facilities.
"Violence has become a significant public health challenge,” said WMA President Dr Miguel Jorge. “Attacks on healthcare facilities, healthcare personnel, and the sick and wounded are in direct breach of medical ethics, international humanitarian and human rights laws," Dr Jorge added.
The WMA is also calling for legal support for physicians and other healthcare workers subjected to violence in the workplace, as well as financial cover for injured personnel.
In a new policy statement, the WMA says that although many countries accept the need for violence prevention programmes, they still face many challenges such as inadequate or non-existent reporting of data and inadequate investment in violence prevention programmes and support services for victims of violence.