July 27, 2023
ALERT: The situation in Burkina Faso is rapidly deteriorating
The Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition (SHCC) released its tenth annual report, documenting the global incidence of attacks and threats against health workers. Overall, they documented 1,989 incidents of violence against or obstruction of health care in conflicts across 32 countries and territories. Incidents increased by 45% in 2022 compared to 2021 and marked the highest annual number of incidents that the SHCC has recorded since it began tracking such violence.
Violent acts included the deliberate targeting of health facilities with explosive weapons; the burning down and looting of clinics and hospitals; the indiscriminate shelling and bombing of areas where health facilities were located; arrests and kidnapping of and threats against health workers; and the deliberate obstructing of patients’ access to health care.
This report includes profiles of the 16 countries and territories where at least 15 incidents of violence against health care were reported. The country profiles highlight the range of violence that affects the delivery of health care in conflict-affected contexts. Nearly half of the incidents took place in two countries. 782 incidents were documented in Ukraine following Russia’s military invasion in February 2022. In Myanmar, 271 incidents were recorded during the military coup in February 2021.
Other nations with high rates of violence against healthcare included Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan, Palestine and Yemen. More than a quarter of all reported incidents occurred in these regions.
Unfortunately, the number of violent incidents reported are likely undercounted, as data collection is hard to achieve in regions that are struggling with insecurity, communication blockages and many are afraid to speak up. In many countries, looting, threats to health personnel, and the obstruction of patients’ access to health care are so common that they are often not reported. As a result, the country profiles of some countries that likely have experienced many acts of violence against health care, including Colombia, Ethiopia, and Somalia, do not appear in this report. Additionally, the gendered impact of violence against health workers in Afghanistan and elsewhere, especially in the context of reproductive health, remains largely unreported.
To learn more about the attacks against healthcare workers, facilities, and transports in 2022, see the report below.