In situations of armed violence, medical personnel and humanitarian workers are often targeted, kidnapped or even murdered. Clinics are ransacked, doctors prevented from caring for their patients.
Recent field-based research by the ICRC show that health care is inaccessible or interrupted for thousands of people affected by violence.
Last week, policy makers, academics, medics and civil society actors gathered in London for a Health Care in Danger symposium, the first of its kind, co-organised by the British Red Cross, the British Medical Association, the World Medical Association and the ICRC. Together, they took concrete steps to respond to the denial of health care.
Paul-Henri Arni leads the Health Care in Danger project at the ICRC, a four-year effort to strengthen the protection of medical personnel and improve access to health care.
He explains why the London symposium mattered, the concrete steps taken by the ICRC in the field and in the world's capital, including in Washington, where military doctors and experts will meet under the auspices of the US Department of Defense later this year.