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WHO: Ukraine’s healthcare facilities suffer 1,301 attacks over full-scale war

Russia’s bombardment of Ukrainian cities, throughout the 20-month full-scale invasion, has resulted in 1,301 strikes on healthcare facilities.
Hospital in Kupiansk, Kharkiv Oblast, damaged by Russian attack on 3 Ocotber 2023. Credit: Kharkiv RMA
WHO: Ukraine’s healthcare facilities suffer 1,301 attacks over full-scale war

The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented 1301 attacks on Ukrainian healthcare facilities and services since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, Jarno Habicht, WHO representative in Ukraine, told Interfax-Ukraine on 7 November.

“WHO has verified 1301 attacks on the healthcare system. This is unacceptable, it is a terrible harm that is inflicted on institutions at the primary level and in hospitals. Moreover, because of these attacks, we have also lost some of our colleagues, doctors, and nurses,” Habicht said.

He emphasized that the resource requirements for restoring the Ukrainian healthcare system are continually increasing.

Aftermath of a Russian missile strike on a hospital in Dnipro City at about 10:30 on 26 May 2023. Photo: Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Military Administration

“We have data on the first year of the war, which shows that billions will be needed for reconstruction,” Habicht added.

However, he noted that 96% of healthcare facilities currently function in the Ukraine-controlled areas, adding that the situation differs in different oblasts of the country.

According to Habicht, in the Donetsk Oblast, only one in three medical facilities is functioning, and access to healthcare is challenging. In the Kherson Oblast, over 70% of medical facilities have sustained damage, and 58% possess damaged equipment.

Due to the Russian war in Ukraine, the severity of illnesses is expected to rise, along with an increase in the incidence of certain infectious diseases, WHO representative concluded.

“We will see an increase in the severity of diseases. We also need support in case of chronic and non-communicable diseases. The war continues every day, putting an increasing number of civilians at risk.”

He also noted that approximately 10 million Ukrainians require support in the realm of mental health as war inflicts invisible wounds on the human psyche as well.

On 17 October, Ukraine’s Health Ministry announced that 410 healthcare facilities damaged during the ongoing Russian invasion have been fully restored as of mid-October 2023.

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