Nov. 23, 2018

WHO condemns attacks on health care in the Eastern Mediterranean region .

22 November 2018 – Despite international laws and UN Security Council resolutions condemning violence against health workers and medical facilities, attacks in the Eastern Mediterranean Region continue with disturbing regularity.

More than 534 attacks on health care have been reported across six countries and territories in the Eastern Mediterranean Region in 323 days (1 January–19 November), averaging more than one attack every day.

Less than one week ago in Benghazi, Libya, an armed group attacked a specialized urology hospital in Benghazi, beat three female nurses and two security guards, and stole medical equipment. As a result, operations were suspended at the hospital, leaving hundreds of people without access to the only specialized urological hospital in east and southeast Libya.

This incident was the latest in a total of 19 attacks on health care in Libya in 2018, during which 13 health workers and patients were injured.

In Gaza, 310 attacks on health care were reported this year, with increasing violence leading to the tragic deaths of three health workers, and leaving more than 453 more injured.

In the Syrian Arab Republic, still the world’s most dangerous place to be a health worker, 97 health workers were killed and 169 more injured in 137 attacks this year.

Tragically, such attacks are a threat that health workers face every day in the Eastern Mediterranean Region as they report to work, treat patients, and fulfil the oath they took to save lives.

WHO reiterates its call to all parties to conflict to remember their humanity, abide by their legal obligations under International Humanitarian Law, and respect the sanctity and safety of health facilities and health workers.