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You are here News Human Rights Health workers should not be a casualty of war — they need protections, now

Health workers should not be a casualty of war — they need protections, now

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Al Shifa hospital attackThe world watched as Israeli forces last week attacked Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest health facility in Gaza, where at least 90 people have been killed. Two days before, first responders, including a paramedic, were targeted and killed in Odessa as they were responding to a Russian missile attack on civilian homes.

In conflicts around the globe, health systems face ongoing threats.

In 2023, there were nearly 2,000 attacks on health facilities and health workers, a record since the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition began its reporting a decade ago. So far this year, hundreds of health workers have already died. This trend will only continue until countries like the U.S demand that health workers everywhere are protected.

During war, health workers are the backbone of any remaining health system. In Gaza, doctors and nurses have worked nonstop — and unpaid— for six months with the constant backdrop of airstrikes. They have had to care for their own family members who have been killed or had limbs amputated. Project HOPE’s medical staff working in Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah reported that dozens of health workers all slept in one small room, eating only canned food.

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