The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution to strengthen protection for healthcare workers, the sick and wounded, hospitals and clinics in war zones.

The resolution follows an airstrike last week on a Médecins Sans Frontiéres-supported hospital in Aleppo last week in which more than 50 people, including children, were killed - including the city's only remaining paediatrician, Dr Mohammed Wassim Maaz - which has generally been attributed to the Syrian Government. Meanwhile, a rocket attack on a maternity hospital in the city, apparently by rebel forces, reportedly left a further 19 dead this Tuesday.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the council that attacks on health facilities and medical workers were not just incidental and isolated but "the intended objective of the combatants", a situation he describes as "shameful and inexcusable".

He said the Aleppo incident, for example, was only the "latest wartime assault on healthcare in Syria", noting

that since the beginning of the conflict there, Physicians for Human Rights has documented more than 360 attacks on some 250 medical facilities and that more than 730 medical personnel have been killed.

Mr Ban said a similar pattern had been seen in Yemen where more than 600 medical facilities had closed because of damage and shortages of medical supplies and workers.

The UN verified 59 attacks against 34 hospitals last year including a well-publicised strike, by the US military, on an MSF-supported hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, in which dozens were killed including patients burned alive in their beds.

"When so-called surgical strikes end up hitting surgical wards, something is deeply wrong," Mr Ban said.

The council also heard from Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Dr Joanne Liu, international president of MSF, before adopting the resolution.