Open letter: health professions on the aftermath of terrorism

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7319.1004/a (Published 27 October 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1004
  1. George Alberti, president,
  2. Sian Griffiths, president,
  3. David Hall, president,
  4. Hakesley-Brown Roswyn, president,
  5. John Cox, president
  1. Royal College of Physicians of London, London NW1 4LE
  2. Faculty of Public Health Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians, London NW1 4LB
  3. Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, London NW1 4LB
  4. Royal College of Nursing, London W1M 0AB
  5. Royal College of Psychiatrists, London SW1X 8PG

    EDITOR—We unreservedly condemn the attacks on New York and Washington, DC, on 11 September. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the relatives, friends, and colleagues of the victims.

    We are concerned that all responses should take account of the magnitude and complexity of the problem of combating terrorism of all kinds and its causes.

    By virtue of their skills and experience, health professionals should take part in formulating appropriate responses to humanitarian needs in this crisis, taking into account lessons learnt from the past. In the longer term, building local capacity in the healthcare systems of affected populations will be an important contribution.

    There is an urgent need to monitor the health of the population of Afghanistan and to make this information widely known and acted on in a way appropriate to the people of that country.

    In the aftermath of the attacks social tension is increasing. We call on health professionals to help combat racism wherever encountered in health services and promote tolerance.

    In the longer term we urge that in formulating foreign policy, governments should assess the effects of their proposed actions on the health and human rights of their own people and those likely to be affected in the wider world.

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