The Defenders

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In March, a terrorist group in Nigeria captured two midwives, Hauwa Mohammed Liman and Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa. Both are now dead.

Midwives help pregnant women have healthy births. The murders of Ms. Liman and Ms. Khorsa are devastating in a country that has, as National Public Radio reports, “one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world as well as one of the highest infant mortality rates.”

Violence against health workers in conflict zones is a terrible problem; according to a report NPR cites, there were 701 attacks last year. But violence against health workers extends beyond war zones. In the United States, it can be more dangerous to be a nurse than a police officer.

Even without their violence, keeping people healthy is risky. The obituary page of The Economist pays tribute to Lini Puthussery, a nurse in India dedicated to patient care:

For the virus to spread between humans, contact had to be intensive and direct. That was exactly what Lini, with her tireless nursing, had provided. On May 16th she felt feverish, but insisted to [her husband] that she would go to work because “lots of patients are there”, as always.