WHO condemns attacks on health workers in Eastern Mediterranean

Armed forces allied to internationally recognised government fight with armed group in Tripoli, Libya September 22, 2018. REUTERS/Hani Amara

The World Health Organisation has condemned recent attacks against health workers in Libya and the surrounding region.

In a statement, the health body complained that the attacks against health care staff and medical facilities were continuing despite international laws and United Nations Security Council resolutions being in place to protect them.

“WHO reiterates its call to all parties in conflict to remember their humanity, abide by their legal obligations under International Humanitarian Law, and respect the sanctity and safety of health facilities and health workers,” read the statement.

Last week, three female nurses and two security guards were beaten at a hospital in Benghazi, by an armed group that then stole medical equipment.

“Operations were suspended at the hospital, leaving hundreds of people without access to the only specialized urological hospital in east and southeast Libya,” the statement added.

More than 534 attacks on health care have been reported across six countries and territories in the Eastern Mediterranean Region since the start of 2018, with about 98 health workers killed in Syria alone.

In Libya, there have been a total of 19 attacks in 2018, where 13 health workers and patients have been injured.

More than 75% of all public health facilities have already been closed, according to the WHO Spokesman in Libya, Dr. Ahmed al-Aliqi.

Health workers operate in difficult situations and face intimidation and harassment as they work to help thousands in need of healthcare.