Identifying oneself as a medic is no guarantee of safety in a war zone.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday as it released data highlighting more than 2,700 attacks on healthcare teams in war zones in 17 countries between 2018 and 2020.
Some of the attacks were targeted. Others involved health care facilities damaged amid fighting.
The attacks saw more than 700 health care workers died and more than 2,000 injured.
So far this year, the WHO had recorded 588 incidents with 114 deaths.
“Every single attack is one too many,’’ said Altaf Musani, the director of the WHO data bank.
“And the damage doesn’t stop with the attack. Personnel is traumatised and stopped showing up to work, which means the patients who showed up did not get care. On top of that, many people in need of medical treatment stopped coming too.’’
It remained too early to see if there was a trend. The WHO also did not analyse which people or groups were behind the attacks.
It also noted that situations were different from country to country.
The report tracked attacks on clinics, medicine depots or deliveries, ambulances, and staff.
The report recorded attacks in the Central African Republic, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, the Palestinian territories, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.
The WHO said that one of its goals would now be to try to find ways to convince all actors in conflict regions to respect and protect health care facilities.