A renewed call for safe access to health services and the protection of healthcare workers amid the Israel-Gaza conflict has been issued by the International Council of Nurses (ICN).
A statement by the ICN board of directors also expressed ‘deepest concern’ for those suffering in the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza.
It also conveyed its ‘heartfelt concern’ for the members of national nursing associations in the region and all nurses working on the frontlines of care.
Following a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the ICN board condemned all acts of violence and terrorism ‘in the strongest possible terms’, and called on all parties in the conflict to establish a peace process.
‘We call for all parties to respect their legal obligations under international humanitarian law to protect and respect safe access to health care services and facilities and ensure the safety and protection of civilians and health care workers,’ the statement read.
‘We appeal to all parties to urgently, and of paramount importance, find a way to provide safe access to medical and humanitarian aid and support for all people caught up in the conflict,’ it added.
The ICN board of directors said it was particularly concerned for women and children, the elderly and the most vulnerable ‘whose physical and mental health are being damaged’.
The statement added: ‘We recognise that nurses and all health workers in the region are personally affected by the violence, destruction and the loss and separation of loved ones, and the huge mental health burden they are living under which must be urgently addressed.
’We particularly express our heartfelt concern for the members of our national nursing associations in the region and all nurses working on the frontlines of care.’