A recent report in the New York Times, based in part on research by Human Rights Watch, paints an alarming picture in Bahrain.  Security forces are invading hospitals and clinics or stopping ambulances to find wounded protesters and then taking their care-givers into custody.

Presuming sympathy with the protests, the Bahraini government has announced that 30 doctors and nurses had been suspended from practicing and that 150 more are being investigated. Outside observers say at least a dozen doctors and nurses have been arrested and held prisoner during the last month. Human Rights Watch has characterized these developments as “an assault on the health care system.”

Designed to instill fear, this crackdown is apparently having the additional effect of depriving people, protesters or not, of the care they need. This scenario is likely playing out in other cities rocked by Arab protests, particularly in Libya. Clearly, travelers witnessing Arab unrest should add a shortage of doctors and nurses to the list of risks they face.

Photo by Al Jazeera English.

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About The Author

Michael Hartung, editor of Healthy Travel Blog, serves as head of Product Development at HTH Worldwide. Mike is responsible for all product strategy and development for the company. Mike has over twenty years of successful product innovation to his credit. He has played a senior management role in three start-up companies and has built complex organizations in rapid growth environments. Prior to joining HTH in 2000, he served as President of U.S. Healthcare’s Workers Comp Advantage subsidiary, which he co-founded with Angelo Masciantonio. Mike has also served in senior roles at Aon Consulting, Vantage Health Partners and Managed Health Care Services. Mike earned an M.B.A. from New York University, an M.A. from Duke University and a B.A. from Carleton College.

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