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  • Fighters from Misrata fire weapons at Islamic State militants near Sirte March 15, 2015.

    Fighters from Misrata fire weapons at Islamic State militants near Sirte March 15, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 February 2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) have requested US$43.5 million in order to shore up the cost of supporting its health-related operations in Libya. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) have requested US$43.5 million in order to shore up the cost of supporting its health-related operations in Libya.  

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A 2017 WHO report indicates that 17.5 percent of hospitals and 20 percent of health centers are damaged, or partially damaged. This situation has worsened since the report’s publication date,  and at least 40 attacks against the installations and medical personnel have taken place, according to WHO authorities.

Libyans suffer from a general lack of attention and medical supplies, which puts them at constant risk of diseases such as acute diarrhea, leishmaniasis, tuberculosis, and vaccine preventable diseases.

The WHO also warned that in the current context marked by conflict, displaced people and refugees are the most at risk populations.

For Libya’s WHO representative Syed Jaffar Hussain, the war that started in 2011—at the behest of the United States—has taken the country’s sanitary system to the limit.

Years of conflict in Libya have left behind a struggling and over-burdened health care system. Many health facilities are fully or partially closed, limiting access to health care services to a population suffering from challenges from the 8-year conflict,” said Hussain.

The WHO has been trying to stretch its resources to provide the best possible coverage, but statistics show that the current situation is by far unsustainable. The organization is receiving close to 36 percent of the funding required for Libya’s Humanitarian Response Plan in 2018.

Even with the scant funding, the WHO was able to provide coverage in 405,000 medical consultations, providing medical supplies, and carrying out more than 16,400 medical consultations, 188 major surgical procedures, including cardiac surgeries for 78 children, according to Relief Web.

The war against the Libyan Jamahiriya started in 2011. Western countries hailed it as a popular-democratic uprising against a regime oppressing its own people. The road to war was paved in part with propaganda against former Prime Minister Muammar Gaddafi. Western intervention, with the undeclared purpose of conducting regime change, led the country to a downward spiral of conflict between rival governments, tribal forces, and affiliates of the Islamic State.


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