The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has launched a nationwide public-awareness campaign called “Bharosa Karein”, aimed at fostering respect for health-care workers and reducing incidents of violence inside hospitals. The ceremony to launch the three-month campaign was held today at a hotel in Islamabad and attended by government officials, civil society and the media.
Speaking at the ceremony, the head of the ICRC’s delegation in Pakistan, Ms Dragana Kojic, said, “Violence against health-care is a humanitarian challenge which undermines access to and provision of healthcare services and is detrimental to the prevention and eradication of diseases.”
Violence against health care not only prevents the effective delivery of health-care services, it also poses a threat to the lives of health-care personnel and patients in need of critical care. The campaign therefore aims to raise the general public’s awareness of the need to not interfere with the work of health-care personnel and to avoid resorting to violence no matter what. Many of the incidents health-care workers face are initiated by the friends and family of their patients, so one of the goals is to provide information that will improve family members’ ability to cope with emergencies.
Public service messages about the consequences of violence in hospitals will be broadcast on TV, radio and social media. These messages reflect research done to understand the situation that health workers face and how best to reach people. The campaign can be followed with the hashtag #BharosaKarein.
Dr Zafar Mirza, the chief guest at the launch and federal minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, said, “Healthcare personnel themselves become vulnerable at the hands of families of victims. This is a commonly observed phenomenon and it is growing. We observe it but do not do anything to tackle it. I am very appreciative of ICRC for taking up this issue and raising awareness about it, and I ensure continued support for such initiatives.”