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Protecting Health Care in Conflict Areas: Lessons from Ukraine to Tigray
Violence against health workers, health facilities and patients has become a pervasive aspect of modern war. Conflict and unrest create a state of insecurity that makes maintaining a functional health system nearly impossible. To weaken an adversary’s resilience and will to fight, hospitals, ambulances, and supply vehicles are commonly targeted by military forces, while health care personnel and patients are often assaulted, threatened, or stripped of access to care.

These tactics violate basic human rights and international humanitarian law. In Ukraine, Russian forces carried out more than 200 attacks on health care within the first 70 days of the war. In Tigray, more than 80% of the hospitals have been destroyed since the conflict began in November of 2020. Despite evidence of these inhumane methods of warfare, most are not documented or are met with impunity.

In this webinar, experts will weigh in on the growing calls to strengthen the right to health in conflict. They will tackle pressing questions around how to ensure access to health care during times of instability, and how to improve global governance systems to support the penalization of crimes against health care.

This webinar is being hosted by the Harvard Global Health Institute, in partnership with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, the MGH Center for Global Health, and the Security and Global Health Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Jul 6, 2022 09:00 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Africa Stewart, MD, MBA
President @Doctors Without Borders
Dr. Stewart graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins University in 1995 with a BA in psychology and mathematical science. She then attended Drexel University Medical School in Philadelphia. In 1999 she completed an MBA with a concentration in strategic planning from the University of Pittsburgh's Katz School of Business. She then returned to Philadelphia to finish her medical training at Drexel. In 2000, Africa received her MD and started her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Hahnemann University Hospital. Her career with MSF began in Sudan in June 2011. Africa has completed five surgical field assignments with MSF and served as a guide for the organization's Forced From Home exhibition about the global refugee crisis. She was elected to the board of directors in 2017. She continues to support women's health care locally and abroad with an emphasis on education and prevention.
Margaret Bourdeaux, MD, MPH
Research Director, Program in Global Public Policy and Social Change @@Harvard Medical School
Dr. Margaret Bourdeaux is the Research Director for the Program in Global Public Policy and Social Change at Harvard Medical School and the Security and Global Health Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, an Associate Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a faculty fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for the Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Her policy research and service focus on issues at the intersection of health and security. She has worked extensively with the U.S. Department of Defense and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization developing strategies to protect, recover and reconstruct health systems disrupted by crisis and armed conflict. She co-leads the Outbreak Investigation and Response Roundtable and the Policy Working Group on Outbreak Investigation and Response.
Leonard Rubenstein, JD
Senior Scholar, Center for Human Rights and Public Health @Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Leonard Rubenstein is a lawyer who has spent his career in human rights, and now focuses on health and human rights, especially the protection of health in armed conflict and the roles of health professionals in human rights. At Johns Hopkins he is core faculty of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights and the Berman Institute of Bioethics. He previously served as Executive Director and then President of Physicians for Human Rights, as a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, and as Executive Director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. Professor Rubenstein’s current work includes advancing protection of health facilities, patients, and health workers in situations of conflict, advancing refugee and migrant health and rights, and exploring the ethical responsibilities of health professionals to advance human rights. He is the author of Perilous Medicine: The Struggle to Protect Health Care from the Violence of War.
Christina Wille, Mphil
Director @Insecurity Insight and Aid in Danger Project
Founder of the Aid in Danger Project and the Security in Numbers Database (SiND), Christina’s work focuses on monitoring threats and violence affecting aid work with a particular focus on the complex intersection between aid access and the protection of healthcare and education in conflict. Christina edits the annual Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition report for which Insecurity Insight generates the data.
Cheick Oumar KEITA, MD
Emergency Response Team Health Coordinator @International Rescue Committee
Born in Mali, Cheick Oumar KEITA is a physician, humanitarian, and international athlete. Dr. Keita grew up in a modest family with a hard-working mother and father, and studied medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Odonto-stomatology of Bamako where he defended his doctoral thesis in general surgery. After his doctorate in general medicine, he completed his master's degree in public health with a concentration in global health. He began his humanitarian work in 2012 as a medical doctor at the International Rescue Committee in Mali, based at Kati’s hospital. From 2015 to 2020, he worked in health and nutrition emergency programs in Mali, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, among others. He hopes to establish a local maternal and child health-centered NGO in his home country of Mali.