Urgent appeal for assistance for the Philippines


8th November 2013 the Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. Second-deadliest typhoon on record. Killed over 4 000 mothers, fathers, grandparents and kids. In a period of less then 24 hours the life of 15 million people got a turn that no one could predict. (1) The typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippine islands and left behind a country in ruins, and people in need of assistance regarding medical health, food and housing. There is lack of water, power and communications. The damage to infrastructure reach about 240 million USD. Many of the hospitals are damaged and out of function. Security is also a concern (2). Due to this scale of negative effects the disaster in the Philippines is categorized to Grade 3; the highest internal emergency category under the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Emergency Response Framework (ERF) (2).

Our national member organisation AMSA-Philippines was overwhelmed, confronted by loss and abject people. A call for help reached our federation. We the IFMSA-Quebec, supported by the IFMSA SWG on Disaster Management, have initiated a collection within IFMSA directed to help the millions of victims of the typhon Haiyan. Now more than ever, medical physicians should be ready to respond and help in disasters, whenever and wherever it happens. The privileges of being a health professional come with responsibilities to society. Every contribution counts.

We ask you as a humanitarian and future doctor to spread this call for humanity, this appeal of helping people suffering.  The donations will unshorten assist AMSA-Philippines work to maintain best possible mental and physical health among the victims of Haiyan. Health is a human right and not just a civil right. As future medical professionals it is our duty to help all people in need of health care.

We invite you to join this urgent appeal of assistance to the Philippines. We invite you to join our campaign.  Let us fulfill our future oath as medical professionals and let us be humanitarian. Together we have joined and improved the world. We would be truly thankful if you could help us by doing following three things:


The donations will unshorten assist AMSA-Philippines work to maintain best possible mental and physical health among the victims of Haiyan. You can read AMSA-Philippines latest blogpost on Haiyan here. The online donation platform is only a click away

As medical students committed to sharing your knowledge and skills internationally, you are a powerful source of hope for the future. I commend your determination to use your medical training to benefit all members of society. – Kofi Annan as UN Secretary General

In solidarity we stand,

Camille Pelletier Vernooy | Moa Herrgård
Team SCORP-Quebec | Project Leader PSWG Disaster Management IFMSA
norp@ifmsa.qc.ca | drm.ifmsa@gmail.com

Supported by the IFMSA Think Global Initiative

1)  OCHA, Relief web, Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan – Humanitarian snapshot, 2nd December 2013 http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/PHL_Haiyan_131202_HumanitarianSnapshot.pdf

2)  SitRep No. 26 Effects of Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan). National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Republic of the Philippines. 18 November 2013. http://www.ndrrmc.gov.ph/attachments/article/1125/NDRRMC%20Update%20-%20Sitrep%20No%2026%20re%20Typhoon%20Yolanda.pdf

3)  SitRep No. 2 Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan), Philippines. World Health Organisation Pacific Regional Office and the Philippines Country Office. 17 November 2013. http://www.who.int/hac/crises/phl/sitreps/philippines_sitrep_17november2013.pdf

Medical Students on Human Rights Violations and Violence Against Healthcare Professionals and Students in Turkey

(updated version)


The International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA), representing more than a million medical students worldwide condemns the recent acts of violence and human rights violations that have been taking place in Turkey in the last days. The IFMSA calls for the cessation of all kinds of such acts and an end to the violence there to allow for healthcare workers to do their work there. As a general recognition among state and non­-state actors,–physicians and medical students responsibility is to treat every person without discrimination. The targeted acts against health workers not only challenge humanity, but destroy the very fabric of society that creates compassion and care for others. As healers, ­­physicians take an oath to place the health and well­-being of people foremost and do no harm. We remind those that are perpetuating this violence to keep in mind these principles and call for peace.

Main text

In the past days, we have been notified, in addition to media coverage, by several of our constituents from TurkMSIC­­Turkey, our Turkish medical students, and young physicians, sharing their first hand experience on violence in Turkey. Their stories are extremely troubling and reveal that unacceptable acts of unjustified violence and human rights violations are taking place. Moreover, there are also deplorable acts of violence directed towards physicians, health workers and medical students that are providing aid to injured people.

Such acts not only challenge humanity, but destroy the very fabric of society that creates compassion and care for others. As healers­­, physicians, health workers, and medical students commit to place the health and well-­being of people foremost and do no harm.

As a network that reaches more than a million medical students and founded upon principles of understanding, tolerance and peace, IFMSA can not passively ignore this situation. We call upon the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which exists to protect every person’s basic rights, including those of health workers­­ a declaration that all member states of the United Nations are obligated to adhere by [1] Moreover, we also call upon the Geneva Conventions which provides basic protection for health workers in times of armed conflict [2], thus this protection of health workers cannot be disregarded. If such targeted attacks continue, we fear that less aid will be provided to all people. This will only escalate hostility, conflict and the severity of the injuries and consequences of violent acts will be greater for the people of Turkey. We ask those that are attributing to this situation in Turkey to reflect upon the greater impact and the long­-term effects of continued human rights violations.

Moreover, for those physicians, health workers, and medical students that are taking risks to provide care to the injured and in need, IFMSA would also like to state our admiration and support.

IFMSA, as a body of future physicians and healthcare leaders, reminds all people and institutions, most importantly governments, should respect the following:

●  Health workers, including physicians and medical students, should be protected from intentional danger and violence;

●  Physicians are not to be arrested, hurt, or even murdered based upon their political beliefs or choice on how to express themselves in a peaceful manner, and;

●  Physicians not be discouraged to treat people differently based on their different political, religious or cultural ideologies and should continue to adhere to the Physician’s Oath, adopted by the World Medical Association in 1948, which states that a physician shall “not permit considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between [his] duty and [his] patient.” [3];

●  Respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions and other existing treaties and laws that articulate their responsibilities towards the rights and welfare of health workers;

●  Respect the Physician’s Oath adopted by the World Medical Association in 1948;

●  Establish agencies and mechanisms that will protect the rights and welfare of physicians and even medical students, especially those involved in the care of individuals involved in demonstrations;

●  Respect the fundamental human right of freedom of expression by physicians and medical students, even if they are in opposition or contradiction to the stand of institutions such as the government, and;

●  React appropriately according to the law with regards to proper and lawful procedures in terms of arrest, detainment, trial, and the punishment of physicians to ensure that the law is carried out justly.

●  Call for greater accountability from the perpetrators, whether they are state or non-­state actors;

●  Serve justice to the victims through fair and efficient trial and punishment of perpetrators;

●  Promote the Physician’s Oath which states that health workers are not allowed to
neglect a patient because of differences in political, religious, or cultural ideology, to other sectors, especially the government, military, and police.


The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) is an independent, non­governmental and non­political federation of medical students from 108 National Member Organizations on six continents and over 100 countries. The IFMSA, as a network of National Member Organizations of future physicians around the world, strongly believes in collaboration and joint efforts aiming to improve the situation of students in medical professions worldwide and to ensure the increase of well­trained and appropriately deployed health workforce.

The IFMSA was founded in 1951 and is run for and by medical students on a non­profit basis. It is officially recognized as a Non Governmental Organization within the United Nations system, and is recognized by the World Health Organization as the International Forum for medical students. It exists to serve medical students all over the world. IFMSA is built around six standing Committees: Human Rights and Peace, Reproductive Health including AIDS, Public Health, Professional Exchange, Research Exchange and Medical Education.

4-day-experience in the 36th General Conference of UNESCO…

Now that I’m back home sitting on my desk and far from the UNESCO world,I can just tell you that the last days in the “big house” were an amazing experience!

For one day and a hafl(26th and 27th),Discussions at the forum were focused on “How does UNESCO contribute to building a culture of peace and to sustainable development”. It provided an opportunity to explore bold and innovative ideas and ways of promoting peace and prosperity in a globalized world, through UNESCO’s fields of competence. Keynote addresses were made day by  Pal Schmitt, President of the Republic of Hungary,  Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Republic of Gabon,  Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Tillman Thomas, Prime Minister of Grenada,  Pascal Irenée Koupaki, Prime Minister of the Republic of Benin. Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya, Boris Tadic, President of the Republic of Serbia and other special and important participants.

On the 28th morning and just before heading to the airport,I assisted to the presentation of the Youth Forum draft by the 2 youth delegates.A special thank was made by the representative of Indonesia followed by a big applause from the member states.

During evening social events,me and Roopa were socializing with the delegates and gathering the contacts of the National Commissions.We even talked about the March Meeting2012 to the representatives of Ghana who promised to arrange a meeting with the Minister of Education on Monday.

Most of the UNESCO offices in the countries belong to the Ministry of Education and they seem open to youth participation.For instance,encouranging the youth particpation in the National Commissions was one of the most recurrent recommendations of the Youth Forum and the General Conference.

I also had the chance to meet many interesting UNESCO staff: Mme Sonia Bahri,the chief of Science Policy & Capacity Building division,Mme Monthy,training officer at the Training & Career  Development Section who enlighted me about the internship in UNESCO and others that helped me a lot in my work.And what’s better than a dinner in a chic French restaurant with my predecessor Maxime Moulin (LO to UNESCO 2009-2010)!!!

I feel really sad that I had to leave before the end of the General Conference.Every day spent in UNESCO headquarter offers new opportunities for IFMSA.

This is the end of my first and not last adventure in Paris.I can proudly say that IFMSA participation was a real success and that we met all our expectations .

This is just the beginning of a long partnership story between IFMSA and UNESCO…