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Health worker casualties increasing in Afghanistan

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Kabul, 2 August 2018 - In Afghanistan, an increasing amount of health workers have been killed in attacks targeting health facilities and personnel in the first half of 2018, compared to the previous six months, reports Health Cluster. A total number of seven health personnel were killed January and June this year, compared to three who were killed between April and December 2017.

The health facility in Nika district, Paktika, that was destroyed in an aerial attack in March, 2018The health facility in Nika district, Paktika, that was destroyed in an aerial attack in March, 2018

Afghanistan has the third highest incidence rate of attacks against health facilities and health workers in the world, behind Syria and Palestine. Between January and June 2018, the Health Cluster registered a total of 54 incidents against health workers and facilities.

Amongst all the attacks on aid workers and humanitarian infrastructure, health workers and facilities are most affected.  A record high of 37 health personnel on duty were detained in past six months.

“Attacks on health workers and facilities are becoming more deliberate and violent. Health personnel in Afghanistan are frequently being harassed, detained, kidnapped or in the worst case killed,” Health Cluster coordinator Dr David Lai comments.

WHO representative Dr Richard Peeperkorn expressed his concern over the trend. “All parties to the conflict must respect the inviolability of health facilities and personnel”, he stated. “Humanitarian and health workers should never be a target”.

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Infographic from the Health Clucter in Afghanistan on attacks on health

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Key health-related statistics

Population (m) 29.7
Health expenditure (% of GDP) 9.5
Adult (15+) literacy rate (%) 34.8
Life expectancy at birth F/M (2010) 63.2-63.6

Sources: Central Statistics office, Afghanistan National health Accounts, Afghanistan Living Conditions Survey, Afghanistan mortality survey. 

Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

Afghanistan country health profile

Regional Health Observatory

WHO Afghanistan Programme Overview 

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