More than 100 attacks on healthcare in Ukraine since war began
As of 7 April, more than 100 attacks have been carried out on healthcare since the start of the war in Ukraine, as verified by WHO.
The attacks have claimed 73 lives and injured 51 so far. Of the current total, 89 have impacted health facilities and 13 have impacted transport, including ambulances.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said at a press conference: “We are outraged that attacks on health care are continuing. Attacks on health care are a violation of international humanitarian law. Peace is the only way forward. I again call on the Russian Federation to stop the war.”
“It’s a truly sad irony that we are recording this milestone of over 100 attacks on health in Ukraine on World Health Day,” said Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, who visited the humanitarian hub of Lviv in western Ukraine today. “I have been personally struck by the resilience and fortitude of health care providers and indeed of the health system itself in Ukraine. WHO has been working to ensure supply lines remain open to allow lifesaving health and medical supplies to reach cities and towns nationwide, and continued attacks on health make this effort all the more challenging.”
The milestone of over 100 attacks on health comes after barely 42 days since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. This violence has not only resulted in a devastating number of deaths and injuries but has long-term impacts on Ukraine’s health care system. The country had made significant progress in instituting health reforms and efforts to achieve universal health coverage before the war began.
Attacks on health are unfortunately seen amid conflicts globally. Since 1 January 2022, WHO has verified 160 attacks on health care in 11 countries and territories resulting in 97 deaths and 74 injuries. Outside of Ukraine at this time, Sudan is also witnessing a recent increase in attacks on health care.
Outside of Ukraine, attacks on health are occurring amid conflicts globally. WHO has verified a total of 160 attacks on health care in 11 countries and territories since 1 January 2022. This has resulted in 97 deaths and 74 injuries.
Dr Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative in Ukraine, said: “Across Ukraine, 1000 health facilities are in proximity to conflict areas or in changed areas of control.
“Health workers throughout the country are risking their lives to serve those in need of medical services, and they, and their patients, must never be targeted.
“Further, when people are prevented from seeking and accessing health care, either because the facilities have been destroyed or out of fear that they may become a target, they lose hope. The mental health toll wreaked by the war cannot be underestimated, affecting civilians and the health workforce alike.”