Women’s health care in war zones neglected: Red Cross

March 8th, 2009 - 4:57 am ICT by IANS  

Geneva, March 8 (DPA) The healthcare needs of women in areas stricken by conflict are being neglected and often ignored, the International Committee for the Red Cross’ (ICRC) specialist on women in war has said, ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday March 8th.
“During conflict women are made more vulnerable,” Nadine Puechguirbal, the ICRC’s specialist on the women and war told DPA. Women’s health needs can be neglected while the burden they shoulder, particularly looking after a family, can become harder.

With more men arrested, captured and killed, women can be thrust into the role of head of household, a difficult task in places where that was traditionally a male job.

Moreover, “they are increasingly targeted as civilians and exposed to sexual violence,” said Puechguirbal.

“Unfortunately we find a pattern of sexual violence in times of war in almost every conflict area,” she added. “Rape has become a weapon of war.”

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