Hospitals could run out of oxygen in 24 hours, according to the WHO

A woman holds a child when people arrive at a train station that has become a refugee center, at the border checkpoint between Poland and Ukraine, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine in Przemysl, Poland, on February 25, 2022.

Kacper Pempel | Reuters

Ukrainian hospitals could run out of oxygen in the next 24 hours as the Russian invasion disrupts transportation across the country, putting thousands more lives at risk, according to the World Health Organization.

The WHO said in a statement on Sunday that trucks could not transport oxygen supplies from factories to hospitals across the country, including the capital Kiev, as it faced a Russian missile attack last night.

“The state of oxygen supply is approaching a very dangerous point in Ukraine,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and European Regional Director Hans Kluge said in a joint statement. “Most hospitals could deplete their oxygen reserves in the next 24 hours. Some have already been depleted. This puts thousands of lives at risk,” they said.

Ukraine needs a 25% increase in its oxygen supply compared to the country’s needs before invading Russia last week, according to the WHO. The global health agency called for the creation of a safe transport corridor to increase oxygen supply to Ukraine via a logistical route through neighboring Poland.

“It’s imperative to make sure that life-saving medical supplies (including oxygen) reach those in need,” Tedros and Klug said.

Critical hospital services are also under threat due to electricity and electricity shortages, according to the WHO. Ambulances transporting patients are at risk of being caught in a crossfire between Russian and Ukrainian troops, the global health agency said.

Oxygen supply is essential for patients with Covid-19, as well as for people with health complications from pregnancy and childbirth, chronic illness, sepsis, injury, and trauma, according to the WHO. There are currently 1,700 people hospitalized in Ukraine with Covid.

The WHO said Ukraine had made significant strides in strengthening its health care system before the Russian invasion, including increasing oxygen therapy with Covid-19 to treat seriously ill patients. “There is a risk that this progress will be reversed during the current crisis,” Tedros and Klug said.

Ukraine has seen an increase in omicron Covid infections, and the number of cases has risen sharply by 555% from January 15 to February 25, according to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs. The country is at greater risk of infecting Covid as civilians flee the Russian invasion. Another Covid outbreak combined with the growing number of people wounded in the war will put even more pressure on Ukraine’s already extended health care system, according to the UN report.

Ukraine has suffered at least 240 civilian casualties since the start of the Russian invasion, including 64 dead and 176 wounded, according to a UN report. However, the UN humanitarian agency estimates that the actual civilian death toll is considerably higher.

More than 368,000 people have fled to European countries around Ukraine, according to the UN Refugee Agency. The Ukrainian government believes that the Russian invasion could cause 5 million refugees in the worst case.

Many Ukrainians are fleeing to Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. The UN says the size of the humanitarian crisis will test the ability of neighboring nations. The UN Refugee Agency has published in Ukrainian, Russian and English for people seeking assistance.

Damage to civilian infrastructure has left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity or water, according to the UN Hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed, and the bombing of bridges and roads has cut off some communities, according to the UN.

“The ongoing conflict continues to cause serious human costs, resulting in more and more civilian deaths, disruption of livelihoods and critical civilian infrastructure, including hundreds of homes, water and sanitation infrastructure, schools and health facilities,” the UN humanitarian office said.

The fighting has forced UN agencies and international humanitarian organizations to suspend response in many parts of the country. However, the UN and its partners remain on the ground and are ready to step up operations when they have better access to the affected areas and when the security situation allows for the full deployment of humanitarian aid, according to the UN report.

Hospitals could run out of oxygen in 24 hours, according to the WHO

Source link Hospitals could run out of oxygen in 24 hours, according to the WHO

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