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Gaza war medical report to be launched

- By Wits University

 

There would be a massive burden of injured and targeting of medics and ambulances; typically a first strike followed by a second strike when people gathered to assist victims of the first…”

These are the words from a medical assistant working in the Gaza Strip during the 2014 attacks in the area, one of many accounts documented in No Safe Place: a report from an independent medical fact-finding mission to Gaza 2014. This is one of the first reports on the events of Operation Protective Edge, written by eight renowned international medical experts.

The local launch of the report takes place at Wits University on Monday, 16 March 2015. Enquiries: Michelle.Gallant@wits.ac.za or (011) 717-1194.

Professor Laurel Baldwin-Ragaven from the Wits Department of Family Medicine and Associate Professor Louis Reynolds, a retired intensive care pediatrician and pulmonologist from the Red Cross Children’s Hospital and the University of Cape Town, will present their findings from site visits to Gaza as part of the team in August and September 2014.

Baldwin-Ragaven and Reynolds visited the area as members of an independent medical team under the sponsorship of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and its Palestinian counterparts, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights-Gaza, the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights-Gaza.

Investigating the health implications of Operation Protective Edge through interviews with 68 people injured in the Gaza Strip, forensic analysis of 370 photographs, interviews with nine Palestinian medical professionals and the review of dozens of medical files, the team documented the failure of adequate warning mechanisms, the absence of escape routes, the collapse of coordination for evacuating the wounded, and strikes against rescue teams increasing the number of civilian casualties.

From this, the report No Safe Place: a report from an independent medical fact-finding mission to Gaza 2014, has been released. Access the report here.

Akram Al Awoor, one of the paramedics interviewed by the team, said: “The 2014 war was by far the most difficult of three wars I have experienced as a Palestinian Red Crescent Society medic: a massive burden of injured and targeting of medics and ambulances; typically a first strike followed by a second strike when people gathered to assist victims of the first…”

Join this poignant roundtable conversation with Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Adam Habib; Head of the Wits School of Public Health, Professor Laetitia Rispel; and health and human rights experts and health professional students about what the report means for South Africans.

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