WHO confirms attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine

March 8, 2022

The World Health Organization (WHO) said attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine are increasing since the invasion by Russia began.

The organization said it has verified at least 14 attacks on the country’s healthcare facilities, according to a news story in the Washington Post. That is more than double the number of attacks, five, that the WHO mentioned in a situation report dated March 5.

In the situation report, the WHO described the extent to which the healthcare system in Ukraine is overwhelmed. “Health facilities are focused on treating trauma patients; and there are already dire warnings concerning the availability of beds for both trauma and other conditions. At least three major oxygen plants in Ukraine have closed, and supplies are dangerously low, hampering treatment of a number of medical conditions, including COVID-19. As of 3 March, based on the shifting context, more than 200 health facilities have found themselves along conflict lines or in changed areas of control."

In addition to attacks on healthcare facilities, the WHO said it also is following other public health concerns:

  • Conflict related trauma and injuries exacerbated by lack of access to healthcare facilities by patients and health staff due to insecurity and lack of access to lifesaving medicine and supplies.
  • Excess morbidity and death from common illnesses due to disruption in services such as non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer etc.) and acute maternal, newborn and child illnesses.
  • Spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19, measles, polio, TB, HIV and diarrheal diseases due to widespread destruction of water and sanitation infrastructure, inadequate vaccination coverage, lack of access to medicines and medical care, safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene as well as population movements and crowding.
  • Mental health and psychosocial health issues due to significant stress due to acute conflict and two years of COVID-19.

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