In global conflict zones, hospitals and doctors are no longer spared | ET REALITY


Attacks on medical facilities jeopardize healthcare not only for those wounded in combat, but also for all those with regular medical needs. On Thursday, Doctors Without Borders (also known as MSF, short for its French name, Doctors Without Borders) withdrew a surgical team from a hospital in Sudan after military authorities blocked any delivery of supplies to the center. The team had been performing life-saving trauma surgeries and caesarean sections from one of the last functioning hospitals in the capital, Khartoum.

“It’s very painful, because of the moral anguish of the doctors,” Mr. Hofman said. They couldn’t function without basic supplies, but they were also deeply concerned about cutting off one of the last sources of care in a city where fighting has not stopped since rival factions of the military government went to war in April.

In Ukraine, Russian attacks have It destroyed 10 to 15 percent of medical facilities.. The damage is even greater than it might seem, said Pavlo Kovtoniuk, Ukraine’s former deputy health minister who now works with a think tank called the Ukrainian Health Center.

“Hospitals symbolize respect for civilian life, and when people see that they are being ignored, they say, ‘We have to get out,’” he said. “We have a huge loss of human capital, with more than six million people now living outside the borders.”

Among those who remain, there is a growing population in need of rehabilitation and psychosocial support, due to a shrinking health system.

“This is not a situation where a war is fought according to the laws of war and the Geneva Convention; this is a completely different philosophy of war where the lives of civilians are completely ignored,” Kovtoniuk said.

He added: “We are reviewing the rules that we thought were a given about respect for civilian life, and Russia has contributed to this feeling: ‘Okay, we can do this.’ We can attack civilian infrastructure as a weapon of war.’”

Ukrainian officials are working with the International Criminal Court to gather evidence of the attacks, Kovtoniuk said. At least some senior Russian officials must be charged to restore the principle of protecting workers and health care facilities, he said. Russia has often said the facilities it attacked housed Ukrainian fighters or dismissed the allegations as false.

In Sudan, MSF says deaths caused by neglected medical needs are as numerous as those caused by violent injuries. According to the World Health Organization, 70 percent of Sudan’s medical facilities are no longer functional. More than seven million people are now internally displaced and facing a cascade of disease outbreaks.

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