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World Health Day. Ukraine is the second Syria?

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As every year, on April 7 we celebrate World Health Day. The holiday established by the WHO will this time dominate the dramatic stories of attacks on hospitals, their patients, and employees. With over 80 attacks on medical facilities and 12,000,000 people in need of help in Ukraine, the war across our eastern border increasingly resembles the crisis that the Syrians have been facing for 11 years.

Make a donation by paying to the account number: 62 1240 2294 1111 0000 3718 5444 with the title UKRAINE.

This year’s World Health Day takes place in tragic circumstances. In recent weeks, WHO has recorded 82 attacks on Ukrainian hospitals. Among them, the bombing of the Mariupol maternity hospital, whose images spread all over the world. But in the shadow of the events in Ukraine, other, no less dramatic, stories take place. After 11 years of war in Syria, we can see the full scale of the suffering that the civilian population brings from years of war and life under constant threat.

In Ukraine, the key problems now are the shortages of drugs and medical products. The unacceptable attacks on medical facilities make it much more difficult, but not yet paralyzed, for the health service. The war in Syria, where only 63% of hospitals are fully operational after 11 years, shows the effects of a prolonged conflict

— says Małgorzata Olasińska-Chart from the Polish Medical Mission, an organization present both in Syria and Ukraine, where it provides medical support to hospitals.

There are regions in Syria that have left up to 50% of the doctors working there. These are not the only threats of prolonged armed conflict: suspended vaccination programs, lack of treatment for patients with chronic diseases, and difficult access to diagnostics are silent killers who may take more lives with them than the hostilities themselves. These problems are also beginning to affect more and more of the 40 million Ukrainian Ukrainian women who remained within their country. The UN estimates that up to 12,000,000 people may need medical assistance across our eastern border.

This number also includes people who require psychological help. They will also be affected by trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition to psychological trauma, the long-term effect of war may also be an increase in the number of people with disabilities. A tragic example is Syria again: about a million Syrians, including over 240,000 children, have amputated limbs 

– adds Małgorzata Olasińska-Chart.

The Polish Medical Mission supports medical facilities both in Syria and Ukraine. In both countries, it helps to supply hospitals with the most necessary medical products. On the Polish-Ukrainian border, the State Museum at Majdanek opened medical points where the most-needed help is provided to people escaping before the war. In Syria, it also supports the operation of the prosthesis center and provides assistance to people with disabilities. The organization constantly raises funds to help as many people as possible.

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