WHO verifies 200 attacks on health facilities in Ukraine since Russian invasion

About 200 attacks have been carried out against health facilities in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a conference on Saturday. press in Ukraine.

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“I have seen the damage inflicted on health facilities and listened to the stories of harm – physical and mental – inflicted on health workers. These are people whose primary motivation is to protect health and life,” the WHO chief said, recounting what he discovered during his visit to Ukraine.

“The WHO has now verified 200 attacks on healthcare in Ukraine since the start of the war. These attacks must stop. Healthcare is never a target,” he added.

The Director-General praised the Ukrainian people for their resilience and drew on his own personal experience of growing up in a war zone.

“My time here has touched me very personally. As a person – myself, having grown up in a war zone myself, I understand only too well how Ukrainians feel – the concern for family and the friends, the fear, the feeling of loss, etc. Because I know the impact, I know the devastation of the war first hand. And I felt very, very sad when Russia invaded Ukraine because that I know of its impact and devastation,” he said.

Ghebreyesus continued: “However, I have seen extraordinary resilience – people who have suffered loss and destruction but who have not given up. They continued, repairing essential services to prevent this destruction from cutting a deeper hole in their lives.

“These are people whose primary motivation is to protect health and life.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what it calls a “special military operation”, the United Nations organization has actively provided emergency and trauma assistance to facilitate the achievement of 15,000 surgeries, providing the necessary medicines and health equipment to serve 650,000 people in need.

Debris is seen at the site of the destroyed Mariupol Children’s Hospital as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Mariupol, Ukraine March 9, 2022 in this still image from video obtained by Reuters. (File photo: Reuters)

“While I have seen and learned of great suffering, I have also seen bravery, humor, kindness and heard stories of the spontaneous and often resourceful ways people have found to help each other and protect themselves,” he said.

Over the past few months, WHO has played an active role in Ukraine, coordinating more than 50 emergency medical teams in Ukraine and neighboring countries hosting refugees who have fled the conflict and “training thousands of health care providers Ukrainian health authorities on how to deal with massive casualties,” he explained. .

The WHO chief also praised the organization’s staff in Ukraine for supporting the war-torn country’s health needs.

“Our team in Ukraine worked hard to help the country build an ever stronger healthcare system before the war. And this work will continue. »

“…there is one medicine that the WHO cannot provide and which Ukraine needs more than any other, and that is peace. We therefore continue to call on the Russian Federation to stop this war.

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