Promoting peer-to-peer exchanges on data collection
systems to analyse violence against health care
Peer-to-Peer Round Table on National Data Collection Systems to Measure and Analyse Violence against Health Care, Madrid, Spain, 27–28 November 2019
ICRC and partners take action On DATA COLLECTION
Efforts to collect data on incidents of violence against health care have been called for and pursued globally. At a domestic level, national data collection mechanisms have been developed in both industrialized and developing countries, in both peaceful and conflict settings, and include:
- The Spanish Organizacion Médica Colegial (OMC) collects incidents of violence against health care providers since 2009 after the death of a doctor in Murcia
- Developed by the French Ministry of Health, the Observatoire national des violences en milieu de santé (ONVS) collects incidents of violence in the health care sector since 2005 from participating hospitals on a voluntary basis.7
- The National Health Services in the United Kingdom (NHS), have conducted surveys to NHS staff since 2013 on violence, harassment, bullying, abuse and discrimination in the workplace
- In Colombia, incidents of violence against the medical mission are reported to the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.
- Furthermore, violence against health care providers has been the subject of research studies to quantify the levels of violence against health care providers and assess the possible causes of such incidents in Pakistan and Colombia using mixed-methods approaches
- Similar surveys were conducted in Iraq to determine whether incidents of violence and threats towards doctors are among major causes of the high turnover and emigration of Iraqi doctors.
The Spanish Red Cross, the Organización Medica Colegial, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and the ICRC co-organized the first Peer-to-Peer Round Table on National Data Collection Systems to Measure and Analyse Violence against Health Care in Madrid (27–28 November 2019). Participants included representatives of the national health systems concerned, government representatives, academic researchers, National Societies and representatives of the community of concern such as professional medical bodies, international organizations and humanitarian practitioners. Participants came from industrialized and developing countries and from peaceful and conflict situations.
The resolution strongly urges States to develop effective measures to prevent and address such violence, including through the collection of data on obstruction, threats and physical attacks on medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and medical facilities, and to share challenges and good practice in this regard
Violence against health care is a public health concern in both industrialized and developing countries. The International Council of Nurses has estimated that health-care workers are more likely to be victims of violence than prison or police officers. Staff working at the first point of care, and emergency health workers, are more likely to suffer physical and verbal abuse. According to the World Medical Association these types of violence occur every day, throughout the world.
Such violence is further exacerbated in conflict settings, where health-care systems are exposed to particular stress and health-care personnel often fall victim to violence perpetrated by both civilians and weapon bearers.
We need better data collection mechanisms to understand the magnitude of this problem, its causes and the breadth of its impact and to inform decisions on how to prevent and address violence and attacks on health care.
There have been calls to collect data on violence against health care at a global level, and action is under way some countries have also developed national data collection mechanisms.
On 3 May 2016, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution on the protection of medical personnel and facilities in armed conflict. Drafted and negotiated by Egypt, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and Uruguay, Resolution 2286 strongly condemns violence against health-care providers and their patients and sets out measures to prevent and address such violence. The resolution “strongly urges States […] to develop effective measures to prevent and address” such violence, including through “the collection of data on obstruction, threats and physical attacks on medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and medical facilities, and to share challenges and good practice in this regard” (S/RES/2286, OP4). In his recommendations for implementation of Resolution 2286, the UN Secretary-General enjoins states to “establish national data collection and analysis systems” and “actively engage in and support the regular sharing of analysis and lessons learned at the regional and international levels” (S/2016/722, Rec. 10).
There were five panels
The round-table's Conclusions
The round-table discussion highlighted successes regarding various aspects of data collection, organization and the implementation of practical measures to reduce violence against health care. It also brought together key experts from different organizations, focusing on different aspects of violence, and formed a high-level overview of the most important challenges that remain ahead.
By committing to a follow-up meeting, the participants and organizations can continue to promote activities aimed at reducing violence against health care, and do so with a wider lens, keeping in mind the themes of the round-table discussion.
By implementing new strategies, improving communication, measuring results better and raising awareness of these issues, the round table can constitute a key element of multilateral determination to address this issue
ICRC and partners take action
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) wishes to thank the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, the Spanish Red Cross and the Organización Médica Colegial de España for organizing the peer-to-peer round table on national data collection systems to measure and analyse violence against health care, which took place in Madrid on 27–28 November 2019.