Issue Date: Aug 31, 2011
Recent headlines worldwide reported the US government’s use of a fake vaccination programme in Pakistan for counter-terrorism purposes. Whether the story is true or not, the damage is already done once there is the slightest suspicion that a medical activity like a vaccination campaign may have a motive other than providing healthcare. Impartial humanitarian assistance requires acceptance from all communities and warring parties—whether national governments, armed opposition movements, international forces, or even criminal groups. In all conflicts or in highly politicised environments, access to humanitarian aid can only be achieved and maintained over time by actions that demonstrate humanitarian aid providers are acting only in the interests of those receiving care.