Breaking News: WHO endorses campaign to protect health workers, facilities from attack

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has endorsed ongoing campaign for the protection of healthcare facilities and workers in vulnerable environments championed by Ethics Resource Centre (ERC).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ethics Resource Centre is a coordinating agency for health sector security project.

The WHO Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Alemu Wondimagegnehu made the endorsement on Wednesday in Enugu during the 2nd Healthcare Security Leadership Conference in Enugu.

Wondimagegnehu was represented at the event by the WHO officer in-charge of Health Emergency Programme, Dr. Samuel Mutbam.

The WHO rep said that the organisation in collaboration with other relevant agencies had always driven the initiative of delivering health services to the people.

He said that the security situations in parts of the country as well as the socio-economic challenges had made their mandate more pronounced.

Wondimagegnehu said that the conference had become apt due to the situations faced by even security agencies on their line of duty.

“We are happy Ethics Resource Centre is the agency driving this project. WHO has endorsed it and given this project the credibility it required and we will be happy to work with them,” Wondimagegnehu said.

Earlier in an address of welcome, the Director of Ethics Resource Centre, Mr Ike Onyechere, said that the project became necessary following the complicated security situation in parts of the country.

Onyechere said that such situations had challenged several aspects of the economy, including the health sector.

“The health sector has become one of the specially targeted areas by hoodlums and miscreants and we feel that there should be more organised response to quell this,” he said.

He however, blamed the situation on a general culture, which he said, does not take security as a serious issue.

The director said that situations where medical personnel and facilities as well as patients were usually victims of attack needed to be a cause for concern to Nigerians.

“This project needs a coordinating approach and institutional support to succeed,” Onyechere said.

In a goodwill message, the Enugu State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Mr Steve Amoga, said that attacks on the vulnerable had assumed frightening dimension.

Amoga said that terrorists and kidnappers would soon start attacking soft targets including hospitals.

“They are now kidnapping dead bodies and if corpses could be kidnapped one wonders what will now happen to the living,” he said.

He said that Internally Displaced Person’s camps had become more vulnerable, adding, “we must look at the means of checkmating them”.

Amoga said that security agencies needed to be preemptive so as to protect the vulnerable in such facilities.

NAN further reports that the conference was attended by security agencies including the military, police, NSCDC, Federal Road Safety Corps and collaborating agencies in the health sector.

The conference had its theme as ‘High Performance Leadership Imperatives for Protection of Healthcare Facilities, Institutions and Workers in Complex Security Environments.”