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UNICEF, UNFPA, and WHO Call for Immediate Ceasefire in Ukraine

  • International organizations warned of the high risk to human lives posed by the war in Ukraine. March. 14, 2022.

    International organizations warned of the high risk to human lives posed by the war in Ukraine. March. 14, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@OstapYarysh

Published 14 March 2022

UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund), UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Activities) and WHO (World Health Organization) have called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine to allow health workers safe access to people in need of humanitarian aid amid the difficult situation in the country.

The international organisations attested to the worrisome outcomes of the attacks in Ukraine, which are killing and seriously injuring patients and healthcare workers, as well as ruining healthcare infrastructure and preventing thousands of people from accessing healthcare services. It is possible to resolve the ongoing war in Ukraine peacefully, the organizations stated.

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The international bodies called the attacks a cruel act, noting that infants, children, pregnant women, the sick and healthcare workers are bearing the hardship amid the current scenario in the European country.

In this regard, the WHO's Health Care Attacks Surveillance System (SSA) has documented 31 attacks since the war began last February 24. As a result of these attacks, health facilities and ambulances have been damaged or even destroyed. Most alarming is the loss of life, as 12 people have been killed and 34 injured, according to an SSA statement.     

They also pointed out that the violence in Ukraine is restricting the  access to healthcare services, while the healthcare needs of pregnant women, new mothers, younger children and older people within Ukraine are increasing. They remarked that the health care system in the European country is going through difficult times and that efforts should be made to prevent its collapse, which would be a major disaster.     

The organizations stressed that it is necessary to uphold international humanitarian and human rights laws. Guaranteeing civilians' protection is a first priority task, the entities disclosed. UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO are working with partners to expand life-saving services and support to meet urgent health needs. We must be able to safely deliver emergency medical supplies to health centers, temporary facilities and subway refuges, they emphasized.

They also warned that health services should be consistently available at border crossings, including rapid care and referral processes for children and pregnant women. The delivery of essential health services must be guaranteed, including immunization against COVID-19 and polio, the international bodies highlighted as well.      

The conflict has arrived amidst the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, which has already put health systems and health care workers under enormous strain. Acts of violence must stay away from healthcare and services.   

UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO called for an end to attacks on health and other civilian infrastructure to ensure that all people in need in Ukraine have access to life-saving services. 

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