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Vivienne Nathanson and Eleanor Chrispin: Bahrain on trial

20 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

Vivienne NathansonEllie Chrispin

One sad part of the so-called Arab Spring has been the detention and trial of a number of health workers in Bahrain. While 48 were arrested in March and April, 20 are accused of felonies, with their trial set to conclude on 29 September. What happens in the latter stages of the trial and the judgments handed down will signal to the watching world how the Kingdom of Bahrain has coped with the tumult, and the kind of country that we can expect to see emerge.

The trials themselves are being held before a mixed military and civil court, the National Safety Court of First Instance, because the defendants are being tried for crimes allegedly committed in a time of national emergency. more…

Mark Clarfield on children in the crossfire

19 Jan, 09 | by BMJ Group

Mark Clarfield Two days ago a terrible tragedy occurred in Gaza and the day before that in Israel – both involving innocent children. In Gaza, an errant tank shell hit the building in which 55 year old gynecologist Ezeldeen Abu-alaish and his children where residing. Three of his daughters were killed outright and a number of others were wounded. While the army is still investigating, an initial probe indicates that Israeli soldiers returned fire from a source either in the building or nearby. In any case a terrible tragedy occurred. more…

Mark Clarfield on a hospital under rocket fire

12 Jan, 09 | by BMJ Group

Mark Clarfield My hospital, the main institution serving southern Israel, has come under rocket fire since the very first day of the war. As a result, there have been far reaching changes in its functioning. Extra staff: doctors, nurses and orderlies have been added to the emergency room on every shift. All leave has been cancelled. more…

Tony Waterston on the situation in Gaza

5 Jan, 09 | by BMJ Group

Tony Waterston The situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate. We deplore the inadequate response of the Israeli and other world governments to the humanitarian crisis. The bombing of an already severely damaged population, half of which are children with a high prevalence of malnutrition, has already led to many hundreds of deaths and disabilities. The health services are under huge strain and having great difficulty in coping owing to lack of medical supplies and power generation. more…

Julian Sheather on hope and human rights in Zimbabawe

22 Dec, 08 | by BMJ Group

Last week I was in Uganda, speaking at a conference on monitoring the right to health. During the conference I met a fourth year medical student from Zimbabwe, Norman Matara. Norman is a tall, slim, gentle, slightly stooped young man. He does not talk much, but when he does he is thoughtful and softly spoken. He will say a few words, then lapse back into introspective silence. Although he is young, when he is not smiling his forehead creases easily with anxiety. Norman wants to be a paediatrician. more…

Richard Smith on the right to health

15 Dec, 08 | by BMJ Group

Richard Smith On first acquaintance the concept of a right to health can seem ridiculous. Why not a right to happiness, beauty, high intelligence, and Arsenal winning the cup every year? The right to health has been questioned legally and on grounds of feasibility and policy, but the Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen answers these questions convincingly in this week’s Lancet, which carries many articles on the right to health.(1) more…

Alison Godbolt on identity cards … invasion of privacy or commonsense?

10 Dec, 08 | by BMJ Group

Alison Godboult A few years ago I saw myself as a bit of a defender of privacy. Now I’m slightly older (and wiser?). I wonder whether identity cards – traditionally opposed by “defenders of privacy” – are in fact the way forward to improvements in healthcare. more…

Siddhartha Yadav: Doctors’ involvement in torture

15 Jul, 08 | by BMJ Group

My attention was drawn to a story in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper about alleged abuse of eleven Iraqis by British soldiers, coming less than a month after the BMJ covered a press conference organised by Physicians for Human Rights, which I attended. more…

Domhnall MacAuley: Primary care and the President

11 Jul, 08 | by BMJ Group

Domhnall Macauley Everyone is an expert in primary care. Newsagents, bar staff, waiters, hairdressers and little old ladies laden with shopping all have their own view. In the anonymity of a city you can tune in, unrecognised, to everyday conversations. Public opinion seems to be changing with GPs seen as overpaid, underworked, and not performing. The news is not good. more…

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