Ukraine: 35,000 mental health patients face severe shortages of medicine, food -WHO

Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, has voiced his concerns over the fate of over 35,000 mental health patients in Ukrainian psychiatric hospitals, noting that long-term care facilities in the war-torn country are facing severe shortages of medicines, food, heating equipment and blankets.

Dr. Tedros said this on Thursday in his remarks at the United Nations Security Council meeting on Ukraine.

According to him, attacks on health care are a clear violation of international humanitarian law.

He said the disruption to services and supplies in Ukraine poses an extreme risk to people with cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV and TB, which are among the leading causes of mortality in Ukraine.

He said, “Displacement, poor shelter, and overcrowded living conditions caused by the conflict are likely to increase the risk of diseases such as measles, pneumonia and polio.

“Services for mental health and psychosocial support are urgently needed to help people cope with the effects of the war.

“There are more than 35,000 mental health patients in Ukrainian psychiatric hospitals and long-term care facilities, which are facing severe shortages of medicines, food, heating, blankets and more.”

The Ghebreyesus added that the war is exacerbating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine

“Critical shortages of oxygen will have an impact on the ability to treat patients with COVID-19 and many other conditions.

“At least eight facilities for producing and storing liquid oxygen have now closed, and we are seeking ways of accessing oxygen from neighboring countries and ways to deliver it safely to where it’s needed,” he informed.

Tedros, however, urged donors to support the immense and escalating humanitarian needs in Ukraine and fully fund the UN’s $1.1 billion humanitarian appeals.


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