STORY: Ukraine Update – WHO
TRT: 2 mins 40s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 8 July 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
Five months into the war in Ukraine, people are suffering severely from all kinds of diseases and disabilities with an overstretched health system operating in the country, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today at a press briefing at the United Nations in Geneva.
Speaking via zoom from the port city Odessa in southern Ukraine, Dr. Dorit Nitzan, WHO’s Incident Manager in Ukraine, said that “the health institutions here in Odessa, and I am sure that in Mykolaiv and elsewhere, now where the fights are ongoing, are really overstretched”.
WHO is currently establishing a WHO hub in Odessa where they are focusing, together with the Ukraine Ministry of Health and other national and international partners, on the needs of the affected population – people whose physical and mental health has been harmed and deteriorated due to the Russian invasion.
“People are being disabled in all kinds of ways due to the war”, said Dr. Nitzan. “The noise and bombardments damage hearing. The landmines have been the cause of amputations, and of course, the fear, the grief and the uncertainty that exerts on mental health”.
There are also diabetics who could not get treatment and whose disease is now severe. Premature babies, pregnant women, older people, many of whom have been left behind.
According to Dr. Nitzan, “the people who have not been able to receive early diagnosis and treatment for cancer, are now having more advanced tumors and more critical illnesses”. She added that “people that have not been able to receive medications, for example hypertension, now have failing hearts and maybe strokes”.
The expertise of a countrywide-renowned Ophthalmology Centre based in Odessa is now sorely needed. “Other people have been suffering the terrible effects of missile attacks and other shelling”, said Dr. Nitzan. “And what we do not recognize and what we see more here is the impact on our vision with burns and damages to their eyes, leaving people permanently or partially blinded”.
WHO and other humanitarian partners are waiting for the establishment of humanitarian corridors in order to get to the conflict affected populations.
“Gender based-violence we see as in every war, and together with the UN family, each of the organization that is doing something is involved”, Dr. Nitzan said. “We are in the health care, hotlines and support to aid those who have suffered from this violence”.
Treatment of waterborne diseases, the ever-present risk of a cholera outbreak in the country, is a particular concern for WHO. Together with other humanitarian partners they are currently waiting to get security clearance for an assessment mission to Mykolaiv.
Dr. Dorit Nitzan described the current health situation in Ukraine as “Covid-19 is increasing now, cholera we are getting ready, polio (is) under control, measles we are working very hard to vaccinate but we are working in different areas in order to make sure that we are there”.