Attacks on Health Care initiative: Prevent. Protect. Provide.
Health care is under attack. In 2019 alone, over 1000 confirmed attacks on health care took place in emergency-affected countries and fragile settings. These attacks deprive people of urgently needed care, endanger health care providers, and undermine health systems.
The Attacks on Health Care initiative aims to ensure that health workers everywhere are able to provide health care in a safe and protected environment without disruption from acts of violence. The initiative has three main pillars of work including the systematic collection of evidence of attacks, advocacy for the end of such attacks, and the promotion of good practices for protecting health care from attacks.
Defining attacks on health care
WHO defines an attack on health care as any act of verbal or physical violence or obstruction or threat of violence that interferes with the availability, access and delivery of curative and/or preventive health services during emergencies. Types of attacks vary across contexts and can range from violence with heavy weapons to psychosocial threats and intimidation.
Evidence of attacks
Launched in December 2017, the SSA is the main mechanism for collecting primary source data of attacks on health care in countries. Its methodology allows the verification of incidents of attacks and provides evidence based on a level of certainty for each incident. The resulting information is publicly available through our online platform.