Threats and violence against health care in Mozambique in 2020

News and Press Release
Originally published


In the early morning of 28 May 2020 between 120 and 150 jihadist militants raided the capital of Macomia district in Cabo Delgado province. They blocked all the roads in and out of the town, forcing civilians to flee into the bush. An INGO staff member describes their experience: “We were at least a thousand people – men, women, the elderly, children, the sick and their caregivers – all running away from the sounds of shooting. It was like the end of the world.” The insurgents destroyed many houses and public buildings, including the Macomia health centre, which was looted and burnt. During the attack government buildings were specifically targeted and the ISIS flag was hoisted in the town centre. An INGO decided to suspend its activities in the region due to the vandalisation of the health centre.

This document by Insecurity Insight focuses on violence against health care providers. The stories behind the numbers presented here highlight the security needs of local healthcare workers.

When violence erupts, international aid agencies often temporarily suspend activities. Local employers rarely evacuate health workers. Some doctors and nurses who originate from outside the area leave on their own account. Health assistants, nurses, community health workers, pharmacists and doctors are frequently among the many civilians severely harmed. This and the destruction of health facilities has devastating consequences for access to health care.