The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported more than 700 attacks on health workers in conflict areas worldwide in 2022, including missile attacks, targeting of health workers, destruction of health equipment, and occupation of health facilities by military forces. The WHO has stated that collecting data on such incidents in wartime is challenging, as attacks on healthcare workers and facilities are not limited to battle zones alone.
The eastern and southern regions of Ukraine have been the most targeted, but health workers have been killed and health facilities destroyed throughout the country, including in Kyiv and in Lviv in the west. The WHO has urged international actors to take measures to protect health workers and hold those responsible for attacks accountable.
According to the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition, attacks on healthcare workers and facilities in Ukraine comprised just over a third of all attacks on healthcare in conflicts worldwide in 2022, which numbered almost 1,900. This phenomenon is not limited to Ukraine or to countries at war.
In Myanmar, for example, media sources reported attacks by the military junta and armed groups who seized ambulances and set them on fire. Government officials reportedly interrogated medical staff at hospitals and clinics about their participation in protest activities, stole hospital equipment and medicines, arrested volunteer aid workers providing medical care, and set fire to two pharmacies.