Mar 2, 2022 - Health

Ukraine's medical needs grow dire

Picture of a bomb shelter with beds on the floor
Mothers tend to their babies that are under medical treatment in the bomb shelter of the pediatric ward of Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital on Feb. 28 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Kids too sick to leave Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital in Kyiv have been sheltering in beds and on mattresses in the hospital basement this week amid growing fears it could be hit by a Russian airstrike.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder that many civilians in need of care can't comply with evacuation orders and leave amid the increasingly desperate situation.

What they're saying: "What is happening now in Ukraine is a humanitarian catastrophe caused by the war," Volodymyr Zhovnyakh, the Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital director, told the Wall Street Journal.

  • "The world is watching us, praying for us, and not doing much else. Ukraine, unfortunately, is on its own," Zhovnyakh said.

What's happening: The public health crisis is becoming direr as hundreds of thousands flee, many waiting days to escape the country and lacking enough food, water and basic necessities.

  • Meanwhile, hospitals within Ukraine face an influx of new trauma patients while facing danger themselves from the shelling. The head of a maternity hospital near Kyiv said the facility was hit in an attack on Tuesday, NBC News reported.
  • Basics like oxygen and antibiotics are running low, along with drugs and blood supplies needed for cancer care. And the availability of critical medications like insulin, is limited, according to aid organizations and news reports.
  • There are also increasing concerns about the spread of diseases such as COVID-19, as well as polio or tuberculosis, the Washington Post reported.

What to watch: International organizations and aid agencies are calling for more support and funding to keep the medical system running.

The bottom line: The Russian invasion is putting enormous stress on Ukraine's health care infrastructure and resources are dwindling fast.

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