Attacks on Health Care

New data on attacks on health care

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 Torit County, former Eastern Equatoria State, 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.

Health partners in Syria take the opportunity to vaccinate children who have fled eastern Aleppo – in this case to Jibreen, rural Aleppo. A female health worker uses a vaccine cool box as a table, writing notes. A small child stands on the other side of the cool box and there are other people standing around. Syringes can be seen in the foreground.

WHO steps up response in Aleppo and demands that health personnel be protected

13 December 2016 – Conditions in Aleppo continue to deteriorate as thousands of people flee violence. The World Health Organization, alongside UN and other partners, is working to provide care in the midst of conflict and to assist internally displaced people (IDPs). The Organization strongly urges all parties to the conflict in Syria to abide by international humanitarian law and protect civilians trapped in the conflict. In particular, WHO demands that all patients and health workers, facilities and vehicles be protected from violence during times of conflict.

WHO Syria

Eastern Aleppo without any hospitals for more than 250,000 residents

20 November 2016 -- More than 250,000 men, women, and children living in Eastern Aleppo are now without access to hospital care following attacks on the remaining hospitals over the last week. According to reports to WHO from the Organization’s partners in Syria, there are currently no hospitals functioning in the besieged area of the city.

WHO/Aleksander Nordahl

WHO condemns massive attacks on five hospitals in Syria

16 November 2016 --WHO condemns the attacks on five hospitals that took place in Syria on 13–15 November 2016, including three hospitals in Western Rural Aleppo and two hospitals in Idleb. At least two people were reportedly killed as a result of the attacks and 19 people were wounded, including six medical staff. Shockingly, such attacks on health in Syria are increasing in both frequency and scale. Throughout 2016, WHO and partners have documented 126 such attacks across the country.

WHO/Karam Al-Masri

fact buffet

Attacks Q1 2017

882016: 302
2015: 256
2014: 338
Up to 38% of health workers suffer physical violence at some point in their careers.

View the dashboard 2017/ Q1
pdf, 2.84Mb

Deaths Q1 2017

802016: 372
2015: 434
2014: 525

View the dashboard for year 2016
pdf, 2.84Mb

Injuries Q1 2017

812016: 491
2015: 537
2014: 1024

Read the full report 2014-2015
pdf, 753kb

Reports and statistics

WHO releases new report on attacks on health care

Over the two-year period from January 2014 to December 2015, there were 594 reported attacks on health care that resulted in 959 deaths and 1561 injuries in 19 countries with emergencies. More than half of the attacks were against health care facilities and another quarter of the attacks were against health care workers. Sixty-two per cent of the attacks were reported to have intentionally targeted health care.

Global health workforce

Global strategy on human resources for health: Workforce 2030

In May 2014, the Sixty-seventh World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA67.24 on Follow-up of the Recife Political Declaration on Human Resources for Health: renewed commitments towards universal health coverage. In paragraph 4 of that resolution, Member States requested the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop and submit a new global strategy for human resources for health (HRH) for consideration by the Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly.


Published on 28 May 2016 Attacks on health care disrupt the delivery of essential health services, endanger care providers, deprive people of urgently needed medical attention, and undermine our long term health development goals. Over the two-year period from January 2014 to December 2015, there were 594 reported attacks on health care that resulted in 959 deaths and 1561 injuries in 19 countries with emergencies. More than half of the