Onazi to ATT: “Violence is a preventable health problem”
Dr. Ogebe Onazi from IPPNW-Nigeria provided a riveting presentation on a doctor’s perspective on armed violence during the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) side event panel, “How an ATT Can Help Prevent Armed Violence,” on Wednesday, the third day of the second Preparatory Committee session.
A report of the same name, produced by IANSA and Amnesty International, was released at the event, which was attended by 120 state delegates and NGOs. The panel included experts in international human rights and other related issues. Dr. Onazi discussed the health impacts of gun violence as well as the public health approaches that can be used to tackle the demand side of violence. He emphasized that violence is a leading killer of those aged 15-44 worldwide, and that the World Health Organization has declared “Violence is …. an important health problem — and one that is largely preventable.”
Dr. Onazi addressed the economic repercussions of the arms trade and the diversion of resources from health care — resources that are needed to treat and rehabilitate victims of gun violence.
Despite the heavy burden of disease including malaria, HIV and tuberculosis, resources for health care are chronically scarce; and every time resources are used to treat gun injuries, they are diverted from preventing communicable disease and malnutrition, maternal & child health care, and other critical public health services. “The expertise of the medical community is an important resource to join with expert from other fields including experts in criminal justice, security and defense on the issue of gun violence.”
He closed with a call to action to States to “work with the medical community as a partner in your efforts to prevent death and injuries from gun violence.” For more information, go to www.controlarms.org.