Another security breach in MSF-supported hospital

Front door of an MSF facility in Africa. Photo by: Mark Knobil / CC BY

Should aid groups working in conflict areas tighten their security protocols?

On Saturday (June 16), local authorities and “armed forces” entered a medical facility supported by Médecins Sans Frontières in Belet Weyne, Somalia. They reportedly took pictures of patients and medical staff without consent. The incident caused “significant tension” in the hospital, and led to the temporary arrest of an MSF staff member, according to a press release.

The action breached not only MSF’s “no-weapons policy,” but also patient confidentiality. And this happened two days prior to a similar incident in Yemen, where armed men tried to take a patient undergoing treatment in an MSF surgical center in Aden.

While the incidents happened in two different countries, they raise the question on whether MSF and other aid groups working in such high-risk environments should start tightening security, especially since both happened on neutral ground.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.