Illegal clinics clamp urged in Bahrain
Manama, February 2, 2014
Human rights activists have called for a crackdown on illegal clinics used to treat rioters ahead of the third anniversary of Bahrain's anti-government protests.
They say makeshift facilities, which put lives at risk, are still operating in troubled areas and are expected to increase in the run-up to February 14, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Large numbers of private sector workers reportedly took the day off last year amid fears of street violence and police checkpoints could prevent them from reaching work on time.
Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) secretary general Faisal Fulad urged authorities to come down heavily on people responsible for the illegal clinics.
"There are groups of nurses and doctors in villages who operate these clinics and are well connected with international rights groups," he said.
"Rioters injured by shotgun or homemade explosive they manufacture to harm others are treated in these clinics with no proper hygiene and other facilities.
"There may be so many people out there with injuries who are in hiding as their wounds get infected."
Fulad said medics were often more interested in taking photographs of rioters' injuries and circulating them on social media or reporting them to international rights groups rather than treating the victims.
"The critics say protesters are arrested if they seek treatment in hospitals, which they claim is constantly monitored by security forces," he said.
Fulad accused medics of exploiting the political situation in the country to suit their own agendas.
"These clinics are located in villages and areas that often witness rioting and people know the houses to take injured people," he said.
"The problem now is that these clinics, including private ones, are operating in several areas and some even have medical equipment donated by businessmen and charities."
Former Bahrain Nursing Society president Rula Al Saffar openly admitted helping to train "Bahrainis into amateur medics" during an interview with The Economist.
She revealed she delivers instructions for basic medical treatments over Skype, adding every week she gets phone calls from people in Karannah, Sanabis and other trouble hotspots "asking how to dress wounds".
National Institution for Human Rights vice-chairman Dr Abdulla Al Deerazi said injured people should be treated in hospital and not illegal clinics.
"Such unprofessional treatment can infect the wounds and cause more harm as it is exposed to danger," he said.
"It is not right to treat anyone in illegal clinics as they should go to the hospital immediately."
Dr Al Deerazi, who is also the NIHR's complaints monitoring and follow-up committee head, cited a case of a 16-year-old youth who was taken to hospital nearly a week after he was knocked down by a car as he blocked a road with tyres last year.
The youth was knocked down by a GMC that drove through an illegal roadblock in Dar Kulaib.
The dramatic moment was caught on camera by masked youths who were involved in blocking the road.
Images circulated online suggest the youth suffered a gaping wound that was stitched up at a makeshift clinic by people using an iPhone to provide light.
"We managed to contact the family and were able to convince that he will not be arrested after he is discharged," added Dr Al Deerazi. - TradeArabia News Service