PSMO-03 - International humanitarian law: Access to medicines

Ballroom West
Organised by the FIP Military and Emergency Pharmacy Sectdion


Dr Lucas Ercolin, IDA Foundation, Brazil


Conflict plays a major role in humanitarian response. Protracted crisis, such as those in Syria and Yemen dominate the humanitarian case load while also threatening the humanitarian space. In additional to protracted crisis, the last 2 years have seen the start of two major conflicts, the Russian-Ukraine war and the Israel-Gaza war. These two conflicts have been marred by claims of breaches in International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the rules designed to limit the effects of armed conflict for humanitarian reasons, including attacks on health care. 

This session aims to familiarise pharmacists with the key concepts of IHL, highlight how it supports access to medicines and health care in times of conflict and discuss real life experiences from pharmacists working in these settings.



11:00 – 11:10


11:10 – 11:35 The role of international humanitarian law in protecting access to healthcare and medicines
Mrs Sarah Mabeza, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), South Africa
11:35 – 12:10 International humanitarian law in Africa – Pharmacists’ contribution to safe and effective medicines
Drs Sacha Bootsma, World Health Organization, Ethiopa
12:10 – 12:25 Panel discussion
12:25 – 12:30  Closing

Learning objectives

  • To understand the importance of the international humanitarian law.
  • To understand the role IHL plays in supporting access to health care and medicines.
  • To provide military and humanitarian perspectives on the application of IHL in the health supply chain.


  • Application of the international humanitarian law (IHL) is essential to ensure access to medicines and health care in conflict settings.
  • All pharmacists can play a role in advocating for the application of IHL through their work on a local or national level.