The Russian invasion of Ukraine is now in its third week, and the latter nation is facing a rising health crisis in addition to daily lethal strikes.
Over three million Ukrainians have fled the war-torn country since February 24, according to the UN, and more than 690 people have perished.
The Russian bombings have wreaked havoc on Ukraine’s health system, resulting in the destruction of hospitals and health institutions, as well as limited access to medical supplies. Food and drinking water are also in short supply in several Ukrainian cities.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 300 health facilities are located along the fighting front lines in Ukraine, or in territories currently controlled by Russia, with another 600 institutions located within 10 kilometres of the battle line.
The UN health agency also warned that Ukraine’s health system is being attacked at an unprecedented rate.
People who have not yet evacuated the nation are crammed into basements, bunkers, and subway stations to shelter themselves from Russian bombardment. Ukraine, which was just coming off a deteriorating Covid-19 scenario caused by the Omicron version, may see the virus spread quickly once more.
Covid-19 testing in Ukraine has decreased after February 24, according to a paper published in Nature on Tuesday.
Vaccination rates are also exceedingly low, according to the research, and President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government halted a three-week programme to inoculate over 140,000 youngsters.
There is a significant risk of polio, measles, TB, diarrhoea, and HIV/AIDS in addition to Covid-19.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a Geneva-based public-private collaboration, cautioned that the ongoing fighting has hampered polio surveillance, and that the virus may be spreading unnoticed.
Since February 24, a statewide polio vaccination programme aimed at inoculating 100,000 youngsters has been discontinued.
Diarrhoea is predicted to develop rapidly in Ukraine due to a lack of safe drinking water.
When it comes to HIV, the UN organisation for HIV/AIDS said that less than a month’s worth of medications for patients remained in Ukraine at the beginning of March.
“People living with HIV in Ukraine only have a few weeks of antiretroviral medicine left, and their lives are at risk if they don’t get it,” UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said.
Ukraine had 250,000 HIV-positive persons before the conflict, making it Europe’s second-worst afflicted country.
TB is also prevalent in Ukraine, with 30,000 new cases reported each year. TB clinics around Ukraine remained open, and patients were given a month’s supply of medications in case the situation worsened, according to government officials.
Interruptions in therapy or diagnosis, on the other hand, might increase the spread of the disease and put patients’ lives in danger, according to specialists.