Initial concerns about a shortage of drugs to treat chronic conditions like diabetes, gave way to a warning from the World Health Organization on Wednesday (WHO) that “Everybody will die” if they do not receive oxygen and other emergency supplies.
“Some of us have been in this game for a long time and we have developed very thick skins, but when you see the nurses on ventilators for babies in the hospital basement, even the hardest of us, we’ll try to see that,” Dr Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s Emergencies Programme. “And the heroes there, (they’re) mostly women in those basements taking care of those kids.”
At a press conference in Geneva, the head of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speak 36 tonnes of emergency surgical and trauma care materials are being shipped from a WHO center in Dubai – enough to meet the needs of 1,000 patients.
Additional medical supplies will also be provided to another 150,000 people, the WHO director-general said, adding that the UN agency also hopes to deliver oxygen from neighboring countries to where it is needed.
Out of reach
Before the conflict, the UN health agency distributed emergency supplies to 23 hospitals in Ukraine, but Tedros warned that the materials that had been prepared in Kyiv were “currently inaccessible.” .
Tedros added that at least three major oxygen plants in Ukraine have closed.
The WHO Director emphasized: “It is necessary to establish a corridor to ensure that humanitarian workers and supplies have safe and continuous access to reach those in need”, emphasized the head of WHO. who also expressed serious concern about “several” unconfirmed attacks on hospitals and medical infrastructure, since the Russian offensive began last Thursday.
Attacks on healthcare are a violation of international humanitarian law, he said, before emphasizing the ‘sanctity and neutrality’ of medical facilities, healthcare workers, patients, materials capital, means of transport and facilities. “The right to safe care must be respected and protected,” he said.
Dr. Ryan notes that “if you are 65 or 70 years old in the ICU, no one can carry you downstairs to the basement… and they are being cared for by doctors and nurses while bombs fall around. surname. ”
He added: “People’s bodies and people’s bones have been broken and people’s lives are being lost and there is no medical service to provide life-saving care, and we cannot provide it. provide that medical service at this time. So something has to move and something has to change to create the conditions under which that can happen. ”
As Ukrainians continue to migrate out of conflict, Tedros explains that the conditions are ideal for increasing COVID-19 transmitted both within Ukraine and beyond its borders.
Key priorities to prevent the spread of Coronavirus including ensuring that immunizations are maintained where possible, and providing COVID and antiviral therapies, Dr. Ryan said.