“Physicians should be apostles of peace and reconciliation"
Rudolf Virchow, 1869
The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has now been raging for over 600 days. Hundreds of thousands of people have already died, not only soldiers, but also women and children, patients in hospitals, mothers with their newborns and old people in nursing homes. Now, an unimaginably brutal terrorist attack by Hamas has cost the lives of so many civilian citizens and visitors to Israel in one day, shattered hopes as not since the Shoah, taken hostages, not only those taken from the territory of Israel, but also its own people, the Palestinian families living in the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of thousands resettled or forced to flee, countless human tragedies, lives senselessly destroyed. All these human lives have the same value, are irreplaceable, independently of age, gender, religion, nation or political belief.
Aggression, war, and retaliation completely counteracts what we as medical professionals strive for: protection of human life and health with equal access to adequate health care everywhere. War will not solve political conflicts, but will withdraw resources from healthcare and preservation of human resources.
EFSUMB is a federation of medical ultrasound scientific societies with 20,000 members in more than 30 European countries, promoting communication, understanding, and development of medical ultrasound in Europe. International scientific and medical societies not only have the task of exchanging scientific knowledge, to maintain high professional standards, and to educate. In times when nations fall back into archaic and dangerous patterns of behaviour, when hostility threatens to triumph over cooperation, they have a duty to speak up and to build bridges between people of different nations, cultures and values through dialogue, exchange of views and joint projects.
As a federation of physicians and healthcare professionals committed to preserving life and health, it is a logical extension of our basic medical understanding and the preventive approach of medicine, that we oppose war with its senseless endangerment and destruction of human life.
We are very concerned about the safety of our colleagues who are in the war zones to help their patients under the most difficult conditions and appeal to the belligerent parties not to endanger hospitals and other medical facilities. We call on policymakers to seek the path to preventive, healthy politics of co-operation instead of confrontation.
EFSUMB will continue to support peaceful exchange of opinions and disputes as well as maintaining bridges between different cultures and nations by nurturing what we have in common. In the interest of our patients throughout Europe and beyond we will continue on the path of peaceful and life-affirming cooperation.