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Reference : V-P-CH-E-01171
Date : 04/08/2013
Country/Region : SWITZERLAND
Caption : Geneva, Quai Wilson. ICRC photo exhibition "Health Care in Danger: An issue for our times".
Photographer : GASSMANN, Thierry
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : ICRC website, 29/07/2013

Placed for a month along the lake of Geneva, 94 powerful photographs portray both the impact of violence directed against medical personnel, facilities and vehicles and the struggle to provide medical care during war. They are taken mainly from the archives of ICRC and Getty Images and span three centuries.

Second World War, London: nurses holding newborn babies in their hands look with horror at a bombed maternity. Next to it, a similar image, taken more then seventy years later in Libya shows the same despair in the eyes of health-care staff near a destroyed hospital.

The photo exhibition "Health Care in Danger: An issue for our times" is composed of 47 pairs of rare photographs, each telling similar stories although coming from very different places and times in history.

From the Serbo-Turkish war to contemporary Syria, the images show that violence against health care is not a recent phenomenon and has never been confined to one place or one period. Even 150 years ago, and in various parts of the world, ambulances were attacked or denied free passage, medical personnel targeted, and pharmacies looted; and because of this, far too often, people who needed medical attention died.

But in recent years the nature of armed conflict has changed, and one consequence of this is that the scope of violence has widened. Most of the victims of the traditional warfare of the past were military personnel: soldiers and medical staff. Today however, increasingly civilians and civilian medical services are becoming victims.

During periods of armed violence, providing health care can become an extraordinarily hazardous undertaking beset by difficulties and threats to safety. Medical teams find themselves operating without basic equipment, and sometimes without even electricity or water. To evacuate or to reach the wounded and the sick in conflict zones, health-care workers sometimes have to put themselves at great risk.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 5472x3648
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour