With the health care system in Ukraine facing an urgent shortage of supplies, the head of the World Health Organization’s European region on Tuesday condemned the attacks on the epidemic. health services and stressed the need for a humanitarian route to deliver equipment and medicine to the worst-affected areas.
As the clock ticks, “we need to do whatever we can to get to the affected areas,” said Hans Kluge, the organization’s regional director for Europe.
“It goes without saying that healthcare workers, hospitals and other medical facilities should never be targeted at any time, including during crises and conflicts,” he added.
WHO has confirmed 16 attacks – including obstruction of services and incidents of verbal and physical violence – on health services in Ukraine, resulting in at least 9 deaths and 16 deaths. injured. Dr Kluge added that the shipments sent by the organization contained 76 tons, or about 84 tons, emergency and trauma medical supplies and other equipment, including freezers and 500 generators oxygen, was transported in Ukraine. The organization said it had dispatched 5 tons, or about 5.5 tons, of supplies to Kyiv, the besieged capital of the country.
But addressing shortages of essential drugs, especially for those with chronic and non-communicable diseases, is a priority, he said. Another measure is to ensure neighboring counties can accommodate the health needs of people fleeing conflict. The United Nations said on Tuesday that more than two million people, mostly women and children, have fled the country since the invasion began.
“All people seeking refuge, including internationals residing in Ukraine, must be allowed to move around Europe,” Dr Kluge said, calling this a “crisis crisis.” The fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe in more than 75 years.
Officials have worked to open corridors for the evacuation of civilians from cities bombarded by Russia, and to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid. But mistrust between the parties can make it difficult for agreements to stickwith truce deals break on saturday and sunday.
Tarik Jasarevic, WHO spokesman in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, said that even without a clear negotiating path, health workers on the ground cannot wait.
“We’re planning internally here to try to see what routes we can use together with health authorities to act as quickly as possible,” he said.