World Health Organization Calls for More Funding to Aid War-Torn Ukraine

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization on Friday appealed for more funds to support Ukraine’s health sector, which has been severely damaged by the Russian invasion.

WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge said the country now needed more funds to ensure that mental health services and rehabilitation could be dispensed, while ensuring community access to health services.

“We aim to reach 13.6 million people with this support this year,” he told an online briefing from the Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr. “That’s why we have increased our appeal for 2023 to $240 million – $160 million for Ukraine and $80 million for refugee-receiving countries.”

Kluge said almost 10 million people may currently have a mental health condition in Ukraine.

He described its health system as “remarkably resilient” despite sustaining nearly 780 attacks against it.

But Ukraine also needed more mobility aids such as wheelchairs for those who sustained major injuries in the conflict.

A WHO survey showed that 10% of Ukrainians struggle to access medicine, including because of damaged or destroyed pharmacies and the unavailability of supplies, Kluge said.

One third of the people surveyed reported they could no longer afford the medication they require.

Ukraine says it expects Russia to broaden the war with a big push as the Feb. 24 anniversary of what Russia calls its “special military operation” approaches.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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