Stop attacks on healthcare in Ukraine

“Today we call for an immediate end to all attacks on healthcare in Ukraine. These horrific attacks are killing and seriously injuring patients and health workers, destroying vital health infrastructure and forcing thousands of people to give up access to health services despite dire need.

“Attacking the most vulnerable – babies, children, pregnant women and those already suffering from illness and disease, and health workers risking their own lives to save lives – is an unconscionable act of cruelty.

“In Ukraine, since the beginning of the war, 31 attacks on health care have been documented through the WHO’s Health Care Attacks (SSA) monitoring system. According to these reports, in 24 incidents, health care facilities were damaged or destroyed, while in five cases, ambulances were damaged or destroyed. These attacks left at least 12 dead and 34 injured, and affected access to and availability of essential health services. The WHO is verifying other reports, as attacks continue to be reported despite calls for the protection of health care.

“Attacks on caregivers and health workers have a direct impact on people’s ability to access essential health services – especially women, children and other vulnerable groups. We have already 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 limited by violence.

“For example, more than 4,300 births have taken place 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 managing pregnancy complications, are dangerously low.
“The healthcare system in Ukraine is clearly under strain, and its collapse would be a disaster. Every effort should be made to prevent this from happening.

“International humanitarian law and human rights must be respected, and the protection of civilians must be our top priority.

“Humanitarian partners and health workers must be able to safely maintain and scale up the delivery of essential health services, including vaccination against COVID-19 and polio, and the supply of life-saving medicines to civilians. through Ukraine as well as to refugees passing through neighboring countries. . Health services should be consistently available at border crossing points, including prompt care and referral processes for children and pregnant women. “It is essential that humanitarian actors have safe and unimpeded access to reach ALL civilians in need, wherever they are. UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO are working with partners to scale up life-saving services and support to meet urgent health needs. We must be able to safely deliver emergency medical supplies – including those needed for obstetric and newborn care – to health centers, temporary facilities and underground shelters.

“Health care and services must be protected from all acts of violence and obstruction. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has already strained healthcare systems and healthcare workers, such attacks have the potential to be even more devastating for the civilian population. For the sake of health workers and all people in Ukraine who need to access the life-saving services they provide, attacks on all health care and other civilian infrastructure must stop.

“Finally, we call for an immediate ceasefire, which includes unhindered access so that those in need can access humanitarian aid. A peaceful resolution to end the war in Ukraine is possible.

Signature :

  • UNICEF Catherine Russel, Executive Director
  • UNFPA Dr AS Natalia Kanem, Executive Director
  • WHO dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Managing Director

Leave a Comment