Bahraini government is misusing health system to deter protests, says charity

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 11 April 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2359
  1. Sophie Arie
  1. 1London

Medical facilities in Bahrain have become places of fear where government forces are beating up and arresting medical staff and civilians injured during protests that began in February, a new report claims.

Wounded protesters but also civilians with ordinary health problems are staying away from health centres out of fear, says the briefing paper issued by the aid charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on 7 April.

Latifa Ayada, MSF’s medical coordinator in Brussels, said, “Wounds, especially those inflicted by distinctive police and military gunfire, are used to identify people for arrest, and the denial of medical care is being used by Bahraini authorities to deter people from protesting.”

MSF said in a statement, “The police, military, and intelligence services must stop using the health system as a way to crack down on protesters and must allow medical staff to return to the primary duty of providing healthcare regardless of patients’ political or sectarian affiliations.”

Salmaniya Hospital, the only public referral hospital in Bahrain, was caught up early …

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