A ‘Full-Fledged Attack’ on Health Care

Only 40 of 224 health centers in Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region remain functional, according to a UN Human Rights and Ethiopian Human Rights Commission investigation, Devex reports.
From November 2020 through June 2021, “the population did not have access to health care” in most parts of Tigray,” the report states, detailing:

  • Medicines and equipment looted; supply lines severed by roadblocks
  • Facilities damaged by shelling
  • Health workers forced to flee
  • Rising maternal mortality cases, with mothers unable to deliver in health centers

It amounts to “a full-fledged attack” on the region’s health system, including health workers, patients, health facilities, ambulances, medical supplies and equipment—wiping out decades of progress in 1 year, write Deakin University’s Berhe W. Sahle and the Swinburne University of Technology’s Mulu A. Woldegiorgis in The Conversation.
Sahle and Woldegiorgis estimate that the conflict has sent the region’s health care system at least as far back as early 1990s—when it had only 4 functional hospitals, 10 health centers, and 102 clinics.
Humanitarian organizations are trying to rebuild operations, Devex reports, highlighting the establishment of 65 mobile clinics by UNICEF, GOAL Ethiopia, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Médecins Sans Frontières—although the government suspended MSF’s operations earlier this year.

Related: Thousands of Eritreans fled repression at home. Many got caught up in Ethiopia’s fighting. – The Washington Post

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