Three UN agencies urge to stop attacks on healthcare in Ukraine

Three UN agencies urge to stop attacks on healthcare in Ukraine

Russia invades Ukraine: its the reaction of the world. Images//CTV news

DILI, 14 march 2022 (TATOLI)— Three United Nations (UN) agencies compost of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) together with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) urge to terminate the attacks on healthcare in Ukraine affecting the vulnerable – infants, children, pregnant women, among others.

“We call for an immediate cessation of all attacks on health care in Ukraine. These horrific attacks kill and cause serious injury to patients and healthcare workers, destroying vital health infrastructure and forcing thousands of people not to access health services despite the need for disaster,” the Executive Director of UNICEF, Catherine Russell; UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem and WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made a comment in an official statement release accessed by Tatoli today.

Attacking the most vulnerable – infants, children, pregnant women, and those already suffering from illness and disease, and health workers risking their own lives to save lives – is an act of senseless cruelty, added a note.

In Ukraine, since the start of the war, 31 attacks on health care have been documented through the WHO Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care (SSA). According to the report, in 24 incidents health facilities were damaged or destroyed, while in five cases ambulances were damaged or destroyed.

These attacks have caused at least 12 deaths and 34 injuries, and affected access and availability of essential health services. WHO is verifying further reports, as attacks continue to be reported despite calls for health care protection.

“Attacks on health care and health workers have a direct impact on people’s ability to access essential health services – especially women, children and other vulnerable groups,” stressed.

“We have seen that the health care needs of pregnant women, new mothers, young children and the elderly in Ukraine are increasing, while access to services is severely restricted by violence,” said.

More than 4,300 babies have been given birth in Ukraine since the start of the war and 80,000 Ukrainian women are expected to give birth in the next three months.

Oxygen and medical supplies, including for the treatment of pregnancy complications, are running low. The health care system in Ukraine is clearly under significant stress, and its collapse would be catastrophic.

Every effort should be made to prevent this from happening. “International humanitarian and human rights law must be upheld, and the protection of civilians must be our top priority,” the three UN agencies said.

Humanitarian partners and health care workers should be able to safely maintain and strengthen the delivery of essential health services, including immunization against COVID-19 and polio, and the supply of life-saving medicines to civilians throughout Ukraine as well as to refugees crossing into other countries or neighboring countries.

Health services should be systematically available at border crossings, including rapid care and referral processes for children and pregnant women.

It is imperative that humanitarian actors have safe and unhindered access to reach all civilians in need wherever they are. UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO are working with partners to improve life-saving services and support to meet urgent health needs.

All should be able to safely deliver emergency medical supplies – including those needed for obstetric and neonatal care – to health centers, temporary facilities, and underground shelters. Health care and services must be protected from all acts of violence and obstruction.

In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has placed the health system and healthcare workers under enormous stress, such attacks have the potential to be even more devastating for the civilian population.

For the sake of health workers and for all people in Ukraine who need access to the life-saving services they provide, attacks on all health services and other civilian infrastructure must stop. “Finally, we call for an immediate ceasefire, which includes unhindered access so that people in need can access humanitarian aid. A peaceful resolution to end the war in Ukraine is possible,” concluded the statement.

Journalist: José Belarmino De Sá

Editor: Rafy Belo





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