WHO condemns attacks on health care services in Ukraine, calls for safe passage of medical supplies

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WHO condemns attacks on health care services in Ukraine, calls for safe passage of medical supplies

Ukraine’s health care system is facing an urgent supply crunch, with the head of the World Health Organization’s European region on Tuesday condemning attacks on health services and the need for a humanitarian route to deliver equipment and medicine to the hardest-hit regions. underlined.

Hans Kluge, the organization’s regional director for Europe, said with the clock ticking, “We need to get what we can in the affected areas.”

He continued: “It should go without saying that healthcare workers, hospitals and other medical facilities should never be the target at any point in time, including in crises and conflicts.”

The WHO has confirmed 16 attacks on health services in Ukraine, including service disruptions and incidents of physical and verbal violence, that have killed at least nine people and injured 16. The shipments sent by the organization contained 76 tonnes, or about 84 tonnes, of trauma and emergency health supplies and other equipment including freezers and 500 oxygen concentrators in transit in Ukraine, Dr. Kluge said. The organization said it had managed to send five tonnes, or about 5.5 tonnes, of supplies to the country’s capital, Kyiv.

But addressing the shortage of essential medicines, especially for those with chronic and non-communicable diseases, was a top priority, he said. The second was ensuring that neighboring countries could meet the health needs of those fleeing conflict. The United Nations said on Tuesday that more than two million people, mostly women and children, have left the country since the invasion began.

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“Asylum seekers, including international people living in Ukraine, should be allowed to move across Europe,” Dr Kluge said, calling it “the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe in more than 75 years”.

Authorities have attempted to open corridors to allow the evacuation of civilians and the delivery of humanitarian aid from cities under Russian bombardment. But antitrust agreements between the parties can make it difficult to maintain, with ceasefire deals broken on Saturdays and Sundays.

Without a clear path to dialogue, health workers on the ground cannot wait, said Tariq Jasarevich, WHO spokesman in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

“We’re doing internal planning here, trying to see what routes we can use to work with the health authorities so that they can act as quickly as possible,” he said.

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