WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

WHO calls on international community to support health preventative efforts in Ukraine

The World Health Organization (WHO) called on the international community on Tuesday-World Humanitarian Day-to pledge $14 million to help protect the health of populations affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

According to the WHO, more than 2,000 people have died and 5,000 have been injured as a result of the crisis. There are more than 140,000 officially registered displaced persons, but an estimated 400,000 have been forced to uproot during the crisis.

Two hundred thousand currently live in combat areas with little to no access to safe drinking water or electricity. Twenty health facilities have closed in conflict areas, and up to 70 percent of facility workers in affected areas have stop coming to work.

The WHO said a visit to refugee camps earlier this month revealed a lack of drinking water and poor sanitation within the camps, where respiratory, gastrointestinal and skin infections have been reported.

Refugee populations within the camps, according to the WHO, are at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases, and chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes go untreated. As the weather begins to deteriorate and cold season begins, living conditions are expected to worsen in the camps.

WHO's response plan to address the camps' conditions and protect the health of refugees is based on a $14 million preliminary response plan that includes a targeted humanitarian response, early recovery of healthcare services in post-conflict areas, government support and monitoring and assessment of the national health system.

"Recent developments in the country-intensified fighting, a greater number of affected residents and IDPs, and movements of people across borders especially to the Russian Federation-require WHO and its partners to step up their support," the WHO said.