On March 6, 2017, Watchlist launched its new field monitor report “Every Clinic is Now on the Frontline” The Impact on Children of Attacks on Health Care in Afghanistan at the United Nations. In November and December 2016, Watchlist conducted field research in Afghanistan to gather information on attacks on medical facilities and personnel by parties to conflict and the impacts of these attacks on children’s health. The report also provides policy recommendations to key stakeholders, including the Government of Afghanistan, armed opposition groups, humanitarian actors, and UN agencies to strengthen children’s right to health care.
“Every Clinic is Now on the Frontline” details how parties to the conflict, through more than 240 attacks on medical facilities and personnel between January 2015 and December 2016, have temporarily or permanently closed medical facilities throughout Afghanistan, damaged or destroyed facilities, looted medical supplies, stolen ambulances, and threatened, intimidated, extorted, detained, and killed medical personnel. The report also describes how these attacks have compounded challenges to children’s health, already exacerbated by two years of escalating armed conflict. For example, more than 1 million children suffer from acute malnutrition, an increase of more than 40 percent since the beginning of the reporting period.
The report was officially launched at a UN Press Conference, preceded by a special preview event for the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. A breakfast event hosted by World Vision for the wider UN-NGO community in New York will be held on March 23, 2017. The report has helped to prompt a much-needed discussion regarding concrete steps that can be taken to respond to ongoing attacks on medical facilities and personnel in Afghanistan. The report has been covered by the New York Times, Reuters, AP, Newsweek, and the Diplomat, among other news agencies. Watchlist will travel to Afghanistan in late March to continue to share the report and its findings.