World, Europe, Russia-Ukraine War

WHO 'deeply concerned' over reports of attacks on hospitals in Ukraine

Urgent need to establish humanitarian corridor, says WHO chief

Peter Kenny   | 02.03.2022
WHO 'deeply concerned' over reports of attacks on hospitals in Ukraine

GENEVA

The World Health Organization on Wednesday expressed serious concern over reports of attacks on medical facilities and health workers amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“WHO is deeply concerned about the unfolding humanitarian emergency in Ukraine,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a webinar hosted in Geneva.

He said the agency has received several reports of attacks on hospitals, including an incident last week that killed four people.

The WHO is currently in the process of verifying several other incidents, he added, without going into specifics.

“The sanctity and neutrality of health care, including of health workers, patient supplies, transport and facilities, and the right to safe access to care must be respected and protected,” said Tedros.

“Attacks on health care are in violation of international humanitarian law,” he said, without directly naming Russia, which launched a war on Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Tedros said the WHO is on the ground in Ukraine, working with its partners to respond and assess the situation, as well as deliver essential medical supplies from its hub in Dubai.

“The first shipment will arrive in Poland tomorrow, including 36 metric tons of supplies for trauma care and emergency surgery to meet the needs of 1,000 patients, and other health supplies to meet the needs of 150,000 people,” he said.

He added that the WHO distributed emergency supplies to 23 hospitals before the conflict started, but the “prepositioned supplies in Kyiv are currently inaccessible.”

“There is an urgent need to establish a corridor to ensure humanitarian workers and supplies have safe and continuous access to reach people in need,” Tedros stressed.

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