Health care delivery still under attack

Guest Post by Kathryn Dunmore, Red Cross Blogger

Those providing health care delivery in conflict zones are at risk of violence, and are often targets of deliberate attacks. Whether it's in Syria or in the Central African Republic, when health care workers are in danger, the impact is also felt by those who need access to health care.

The ICRC recently published a report based on data collected in 23 countries in 2012 and 2013 on more than 1,800 violent incidents affecting health care. The report shows, in the last two years, there has been no sign that health care delivery has been made more secure. Local health care providers, including public health personnel and Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers, constitute more than 90% of the medical workers affected by violence.

In approximately 40% of the incidents, health care facilities were bombed, shot at or looted, and often suffered extensive property damage as a result.

While some incidents included direct attacks, such as killing, kidnapping and threats, on medical personnel, the study also presents lesser-known trends relating to disruptive armed entry into hospital and sexual violence.

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) states that hospitals, ambulances and health care workers must be protected and should never be targeted as they carry out their duties; however, this is still not happening and the lack of safe access to health care is causing suffering to millions of people.

Learn more about the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement global campaign to improve security and delivery of impartial and efficient health care in armed conflict and other emergencies here:

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