WHO: 12 Killed in at Least 43 Attacks on Healthcare Facilities in Ukraine

The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 17 confirmed that at least 12 people have been killed in at least 43 attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine since Russia invaded.

In remarks to the United Nations (UN) Security Council, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also confirmed that 34 people, including health workers, have been injured in the attacks.

Mental health services are also greatly affected with over 35,000 mental health patients in Ukrainian psychiatric hospitals and long-term care facilities facing “severe” shortages of medicines, food, and other supplies, according to Tedros.

“In any conflict, attacks on health care are a violation of international humanitarian law. They deprive people of urgently-needed care and break already-strained health systems,” Tedros said.

Tedros at least eight facilities for producing and storing liquid oxygen have now closed.

“Critical shortages of oxygen will have an impact on the ability to treat patients with COVID-19 and many other conditions,” Tedros said.

WHO already sent 100 metric tons of medical supplies to health workers in Ukraine and is preparing to send a further 108 metric tons.

While WHO has already established supply lines from their warehouse in Lviv to other Ukrainian cities, “the challenges with access remain,” Tedros said.

“We have critical supplies ready for UN joint convoys to enter difficult areas, but so far we have not been successful. Today, for example, the UN convoy to Sumy that included a WHO truck carrying critical medical supplies was unable to enter. Loads ready for Mariupol remain in staging areas and cannot proceed. Access to these, and other areas, is now critical,” Tedros said.

Tedros urged the UN Security Council for an immediate ceasefire and called on donors to support the response to humanitarian needs.

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