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Medics in Ukraine work amid shelling and worsening health crisis

Published on 04/08/22 at 10:34am

Ukraine’s health emergency is worsening WHO have shared, as the conflict with Russia continues, and staff face burnout and increased shelling. So far there have been 434 attacks on healthcare facilities in the country.

615 such attacks on healthcare have been reported worldwide this year, WHO shared via a tracker.

With winter approaching, the health organisation’s concerns for healthcare in the region have been exacerbated.

“It’s kind of falling off the news in a way... but this is an emergency of public health,” WHO's Ukraine emergency coordinator Heather Papowitz told Reuters.

“Getting access is the biggest issue, it is what keeps us up at night,” said Papowitz. Currently, global healthcare services such as WHO are facing challenges getting medicines into areas of conflict, for people with chronic conditions, or to treat physical and mental trauma. Papowitz shared that WHO’s biggest concern was for the areas currently inaccessible to its teams, due to conflict or Russian occupation. These areas include the Eastern Donbas region, and Kherson, to the south.

In May, Reuters published the statistic that at least 3,000 people had died in Ukraine, due to the inability to access treatments for chronic diseases. This problem of access was because of the February invasion of the country by Russian forces.

Now, disease control is playing a part in the worsening health crisis of the country. Ukraine’s vaccination coverage for measles and a polio outbreak. There have, further, been concerns over the risk of cholera in the region, though Papowitz underlined that no cholera outbreaks have yet been reported.

In June, Mariupol had a population standing at around 100,000, where prior to the war, around 430,000 lived in the city.

Ana Ovey

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