As the conflict in Ukraine rages on with Russia attacking various cities, including the capital Kyiv, top level WHO officials warned that oxygen supplies essential for patients were at a dangerously low level.
WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Regional Director for Europe Hans Henri P. Kluge issued a joint statement pointing to the gravity of the health issue negatively affected by the conflict.
“During the crisis in Ukraine, health must remain a priority pillar of the humanitarian response, with health systems and facilities remaining protected, functional, safe and accessible to all,” they said in the statement.
The officials underlined the fact that medicinal oxygen supplies were of critical importance for COVID-19 patients and those with critical illnesses stemming from complications of pregnancy, childbirth, chronic conditions, sepsis and injuries along with trauma.
“The oxygen supply situation is nearing a very dangerous point in Ukraine. Trucks are unable to transport oxygen supplies from plants to hospitals across the country, including the capital Kyiv,” it said.
“The majority of hospitals could exhaust their oxygen reserves within the next 24 hours. Some have already run out. This puts thousands of lives at risk.”
The officials noted that power shortages were also putting critical hospital services at risk and ambulances transporting patients were in potential danger of getting caught in the crossfire.