The effects of war on health in Ukraine: fearless doctors and nurses and round-the-clock coordination.

The effects of war on health in Ukraine: fearless doctors and nurses and round-the-clock coordination.

The health effects of war in Ukraine are devastating, but the resilience of the Ukrainian people is there for all to see. Humanitarian convoys, stoic doctors and nurses and access to care: this is how the health of a country under Putin’s bombs presents itself.

Humanitarian convoys.

The excellent coordinated work of international organizations, volunteers on the ground and the Ukrainian Ministry of Health is bringing the first results and access to treatment is slowly improving in much of Ukraine.

Humanitarian convoys manage to reach areas badly affected by the war, most of which are still under direct attack, such as Sievierdonetsk, a city hard hit by fighting that has left residents without access to electricity, gas or electricity. drinking water, as well as all other basic necessities.

In recent days, aid convoys have also reached Kherson, Kharkiv and Chernihiv. However, the town of Mariupol, still besieged and largely destroyed, remains out of reach of aid convoys for the time being.

Map from the World Health Organization showing the main destinations for humanitarian aid.

Need health coordination and help.

“This war is having a huge impact on people’s health,” said World Health Organization country representative Jarno Habicht.

“Aid coordination is a continuous process, 24 hours a day, which never stops. Russian forces often block humanitarian convoys or make it too dangerous for them to pass through bombardment areas.”

“We have brought some of WHO’s best minds to Ukraine over the past few weeks, from Afghanistan and (WHO) headquarters to support Ukraine and ensure supplies can reach hospitals,” Habicht said. .

The convoys are put together by many different organizations and depend on the work of volunteers.

“Volunteer drivers delivering supplies are real heroes,” he said. Inna IvanenkoDirector of the Patients of Ukraine health NGO which organizes humanitarian aid.

Despite the bombs, hospitals continue to help people.

Fighting, bombing, internal displacement and Russian checkpoints have disrupted people’s ability to access medicine, be seen by their doctors or in clinics and hospitals.

Indeed, despite the state of war, many health facilities continue to operate 24 hours a day, with doctors, nurses and other staff sacrificing their time and safety to help their fellow citizens.

In addition to urgent health care activities arising from the effects of war, such as medical assistance to the wounded in combat and bombing, efforts are also being made to guarantee the treatment of classic health needs.

The operating theaters operate 24 hours a day, with professionals working shifts of 18 or 24 hours so as not to give in to war.

It’s a battle within a battle: no one is ready to give up and win the war.

Consequently, emergency and non-emergency health activities continue, with special attention to the needs of children.

But if the spirit is not lacking, the materials useful for this purpose are often rare and in spite of the use of makeshift means, the bombardment of many medical formations has compromised very precious equipment and reserves.

There is a lack of medicine.

In addition to medical facilities, there is a shortage of drugs to treat chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, thyroid disease, vaccines, etc.

“In the first weeks of the war, there was a drastic shortage of insulin,” Ivanenko said.

“Right now the biggest problem is cancer treatments,” he continued.Although many cancer drugs have been purchased and are stored in warehouses, moving them to where people need them is a difficult challenge. »

Tuberculosis is also a danger because the current conditions that people are subjected to could lead to an endemic peak.

Although there are currently no major disadvantages to accessing anti-tuberculosis drugs, people spend a lot of time in cold and unhygienic basements. Nor does the war stop the Coronavirus, the spread of which is favored both by the lack of masks and hand gels, and by the impossibility of maintaining the recommended distances inside bomb shelters. .

The Ukrainian ministry is stepping up its support for pharmacies in an attempt to ensure an adequate supply while ensuring that drug prices are kept at affordable levels for the population.

Sources: World Health Organization; Independent from Kyiv.

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