Attacks on Health Care

Archive photo

WHO condemns attacks on hospitals and health workers in Idlib and Hama

19 September 2017 - Multiple reported attacks on health facilities and personnel today in the Syrian Arab Republic have killed and injured health workers and disrupted health services for thousands of people. According to WHO local partners, several ambulances and hospitals in Idlib province were reportedly hit by airstrikes within a few hours. All three hospitals in Kafr Nabl, Khan Sheikhoun and Heish sub-districts are no longer in service.

Health worker holds up a sign reading

Health workers are not a target.

August 2017 - Last year 418 people died because health facilities were attacked. The impact of this kind of an attack is felt from families to communities and entire health systems. Every hospital destroyed and every health worker killed or injured takes years of health services away from the people who need them most. Stop attacks on health care.


World Humanitarian Day

August 2017– This World Humanitarian Day, we come together in solidarity with the millions of people caught in armed conflict. Civilians and health workers are #NotATarget. Even as humanitarian workers deliver aid, and health workers treat the wounded and sick, they are directly targeted, treated as threats, and unlawfully prevented from bringing relief and care to those in desperate need.

Even one attack on health care is too many

WHO data from 2016 show that attacks on health facilities, health workers and ambulances continue with alarming frequency. In 2016, there were 302 such attacks across 20 countries. These attacks have direct consequences for health service delivery, depriving people of often urgently needed care

Mr Louise Mokiri Avito during the meningitis outbreak response in 2008 in one of the villages in Torit County

WHO health worker killed in an attack in South Sudan

10 February 2017, Juba, South Sudan – It is with sadness that WHO received the shocking news of one more of its employees Mr Louise Mokiri Avito, in Torit, former Eastern Equatoria State. This brings to three the number of WHO employees killed in less than one year as a result of the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

WHO/South Sudan

Attacks depriving people of urgently needed health care

January 2017 -- How can the international community make conflict parties respect the rules of war? Jan Dirk Herbermann and Fiona Fleck report.


fact buffet


2017: 88 *April - June

2017: 155
2016: 302
2015: 256

View the dashboard 2017/Q2
pdf, 2.80Mb


2017: 80 *April - June

2017: 126
2016: 418
2015: 434

View the dashboard for year 2016
pdf, 2.82Mb


2017: 81 *April - June

2017: 155
2016: 561
2015: 537

Read the full report 2014-2015
pdf, 753kb

Reports and statistics

Last year 418 people died because health facilities were attacked. Sixty-two per cent of the attacks were reported to have intentionally targeted health care.

World Humanitarian Day

"Health workers must not be a target. Every attack on a health worker is a loss that ripples out to communities and through health systems. WHO stands ready to protect health workers so they can get on with their jobs and save lives."
- WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros



WHO: Stop the attacks on health care

In November, 2016, hospital destruction in eastern Aleppo deprived 250 000 people of access to health care. By December, 2016, 46% of hospitals in the country were reported to be damaged.