The World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional director for Europe on Tuesday said that there have been as many as 3,000 premature deaths in Ukraine due to a lack of medical access amid the Russian invasion.
“Forty percent of households have at least one member in need of chronic treatment that they can no longer find, resulting in estimates of at least 3000 premature, avoidable deaths,” Hans Henri P. Kluge said at a special session meeting.
Some of the illnesses he cited as not receiving treatment include tuberculosis, depression and psychiatric disorders, diabetes, HIV, COVID-19 and cancer.
Kluge said that Russia’s willingness to militarily target hospitals and medical centers has exacerbated the lack of medical treatment within Ukraine.
Kluge said there have been 200 attacks on medical centers during the invasion, constituting “the largest and quickest assault on a health care system, its workforce and its patients.”
He also discussed the long-term effects the war will have on the country’s health for future generations.
“We will also see the long-term health impacts of the war unfold. Missed vaccinations for children, treatment gaps for cancer and chronic conditions, shortages of essential medicines, food insecurity, economic uncertainty, psychological trauma, increased sexual and gender-based violence, health workforce burnout – the effects of this conflict will cascade down through generations to come,” Kluge told member states.
The estimates come weeks after the WHO warned one in three households in Ukraine had someone who was chronically sick and could not receive medical treatment.
The hospitals that are left standing in Ukraine have been more focused on injuries from the war as Russia is accused of war crimes such as targeting civilians, hospitals, schools, movie theaters and residential buildings.
The alleged aim at civilians has caused sharp rebuke throughout the world, with the U.S. saying Russia is committing “genocide” in the country.