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WHO condemns attack on Abs Hospital and calls for protection of health staff and facilities in Yemen

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17 August 2016 — WHO condemns the attack on Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)-supported Abs Hospital in Hajjah governorate, Yemen, which claimed the lives of 11 people including an MSF staff member and injured 19 others, according to MSF. The local health office confirmed 18 killed and 18 injured within of hours after the attack.

The hospital was partially destroyed and all remaining patients and staff have been evacuated, according to MSF. There were 23 patients in surgery, 25 in the maternity ward as well as 13 newborns and 12 patients in the pediatric ward at time of the attack. Responding to the dire need for emergency medicines, WHO has urgently sent 2 trauma kits to Al-Jumhoori Hospital where the injured have been referred.

The MSF-supported Abs hospital was serving 100–150 outpatients daily and was one of the very few functioning hospitals in Hajja governorate providing life-saving services, especially for mothers and children. In 2014–2015, WHO constructed and equipped the emergency building inside the hospital, which was later used by MSF for surgical operations. WHO also recently supported the hospital with fuel, essential medicines and intravenous fluids.

In addition to the loss of lives of health workers, the closure of the hospital will further deprive access to essential health services  among conflict affected populations, including one of the largest internally displaced populations in the country based in Hajjah Governorate.

Since the escalation of the conflict in Yemen in March 2015, more than 13 health workers have been killed and 23 injured. In addition, 102 health facilities have been partially or totally damaged. WHO calls on all parties to protect health workers and facilities and recalls the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2286 (2016) demanding that all parties to armed conflict comply fully with their obligations under international law, including international human rights law, as applicable, and international humanitarian law.

Related link

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2286 (2016) 

Attacks on health care