Attacks on healthcare in armed conflict have far-reaching impacts on the personal and professional lives of health workers, as well as the communities they serve. Despite this, even in protracted conflicts such as in Syria, health workers may choose to stay despite repeated attacks on health facilities, resulting in compounded traumas. This research explores the intermediate and long-term impacts of such attacks on healthcare on the local health professionals who have lived through them with the aim of strengthening the evidence base around such impacts and better supporting them.
The paper finds violence against healthcare in Syria has had profound and lasting impacts on the health workforce due to the relentless and intentional targeting of healthcare facilities. They not only face the challenges of providing care for a conflict-affected population but are also part of the community themselves. They also face ethical dilemmas in their work leading to moral distress and moral injury. Donors must support funding for psychosocial support for health workers in Syria and similar contexts; the focus must be on supporting and enhancing existing context-specific coping strategies.
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