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64 instances of attacks on healthcare since Ukraine war started: WHO

64 instances of attacks on healthcare since Ukraine war started: WHO

This picture taken on Mar 22, 2022, shows debris at a mental hospital hit by Russian shelling in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine. (File photo: AFP/Bulent Kilic)

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday (Mar 24) that it had verified 64 instances of attacks on healthcare in Ukraine between Feb 24 and March 21 resulting in 15 deaths and 37 injuries.

Close to 7 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced in the one month of war, with one in three of them suffering from a chronic health condition, according to the global health agency.

Pressure has been mounting on medical professionals and volunteers from Ukraine and abroad to keep the country's healthcare system going, since the start of the Russian invasion.

The conflict, which began on Feb 24, has caused more than 3.6 million refugees to flee Ukraine and already led to the unprecedented isolation of Russia's economy due to sanctions.

Limited access to medicines, healthcare facilities and staff in Ukraine is further pressuring ongoing treatments of chronic conditions, the WHO said, adding that half of the country's pharmacies were thought to be closed.

The war has also impacted COVID-19 vaccinations and routine immunisations in Ukraine, the health agency said.

Between Feb 24 and Mar 15, COVID-19 vaccines were administered to 175,000 people, compared with at least 50,000 vaccinations per day before the Russian invasion, according to the WHO.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control last week said that refugees from Ukraine should be offered a full course of COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses, if they do not have proof of prior inoculation.

Source: Reuters/kg

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