HHS’s Becerra, G-7 health ministers condemn Russian attacks on health services in Ukraine

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and other Group of Seven health ministers on Wednesday condemned Russia‘s “unprovoked and unjustified” assault on Ukraine and its alarming number of attacks on health facilities.

The World Health Organization has documented 64 attacks on health care facilities, resulting in 15 deaths and 37 injuries. The ministers said they are worried about the collapse of the health system in Ukraine as vulnerable persons are cut off from care.

“Attacks on health care facilities will have a long-term impact on people’s ability to recover from illnesses many years after the conflict is over. These attacks must stop immediately. Health workers on the frontline must have unhindered access to support populations in need,” Mr. Becerra and other G-7 ministers said.

“The healthcare system in Ukraine is under significant strain. We are extremely concerned about the disruptions in medical supplies and essential and routine health services as well as widespread destruction of water infrastructure and sanitation,” they said. “The lack of access to such essential services is having an extremely serious negative impact on the health of people in Ukraine and the region.”

The ministers hailed the WHO, International Red Cross and UN for providing essential health services in the war zone.

Also Wednesday, the ministers said they remain “vigilant of the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in Ukraine and amongst displaced persons and refugee populations who have taken shelter in the neighboring countries, and we are ready to provide specific support through safe and efficacious COVID-19 vaccines dose-sharing.”

Besides the US, the G-7 group of major economic powers includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK

Russia was kicked out of the Group of Eight nations after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

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