The World Health Organization (WHO) has described the invasion of Ukraine by Russia as “a major humanitarian catastrophe”.
Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday, March 8, Dr Hans Kluge, regional director for World Health Organization Europe said that the WHO currently has three priorities:
1. To get live-saving medical supplies to the affected areas in Ukraine – above all oxygen, but also trauma kits and essential healthcare such as treatments for diabetes and heart disease, where supplies are running low
2. To strengthen health care systems in countries neighbouring Ukraine, where refugee numbers continue to rise
3. To open a WHO operation centre in Ukraine
Speaking earlier at a press briefing, he said 13 days into the invasion “we see a health system under severe pressure, and beyond its borders the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe for more than 75 years.”
The WHO confirmed there had been 16 confirmed attacks on healthcare services in Ukraine, including damage to facilities and hospitals and leading to nine deaths and 16 injuries.
“WHO strongly condemns these attacks on healthcare services.”