WHO cites unprecedented attacks on Ukrainian health facilities

Citing unprecedented attacks on health facilities, the World Health Organization said this week it was working to rebuild Ukraine’s health system. The system has suffered extensive damage since Russia invaded the country six months ago.

Over the past six months, the UN health agency says it has verified 173 attacks on medical facilities, which have left nearly 100 people dead and 134 injured.

WHO representative in Ukraine Jarno Habicht told reporters this week that deaths and injuries continue to rise and will continue to do so until Russia ends the war.

“While these attacks are not only a violation of international law, they are also an obstacle for many people who need care as we go through the war,” he said. “So it’s not just supplies and such that we need to support, we also need to make sure services are available. But also, healthcare workers are at immediate risk as we navigate these times. »

The United Nations says the war has killed more than 5,500 civilians and injured nearly 8,000, including nearly 1,000 children. According to UNICEF, an average of about five children are killed or injured every day. The children’s agency says this is due to the indiscriminate use of weapons, often in densely populated areas.

Speaking via video link from an air-raid shelter in Dnipro, central Ukraine, Habicht said many people were on the move and many were in pain and in need of treatment.

He said the WHO is accelerating its efforts to reach and provide humanitarian aid to millions of people across the country. At the same time, he said the WHO was working to rebuild Ukraine’s broken health system in coordination with national and local authorities.

“Rebuilding the health system must be part of the recovery of the whole country in all sectors,” he said. “And that is why we are currently focusing on both humanitarian response and recovery, as we have seen in the health sector and other sectors.”

To date, WHO has delivered more than 1,300 tons of medical supplies to Ukraine, including medicines for diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and other non-communicable diseases.

Habicht said support was also provided for mental health, trauma and emergencies. He also said COVID-19 vaccines had been delivered to Ukraine in recent weeks in light of the rising death rate from the virus across the country.

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