Collapsing Healthcare in Tigray: Urgent Actions Needed
Your Excellencies, I am writing to you today in regards to the humanitarian crisis that is devastating the lives of Tigrayan civilians. After months of conflict & blockade imposed by the Ethiopian government, the healthcare system of Tigray is near collapse, increasing the likelihood of mass death from preventable & treatable conditions as well as the risk of epidemics of contagious diseases. According to reports, Tigray’s healthcare facilities, including pharmacies & pharmaceutical industries were systematically & intentionally destroyed & looted by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, Eritrean troops & allied militia. Even when aid organizations restocked health facilities, the allied forces, especially Eritrean troops, looted it again, revealing a sinister intent to deny the civilian population access to life-saving healthcare. This intent also manifested in the constant targeting of aid workers who have been subjected to endless red tape, expulsion, detention, & death. Aid agencies have also been prevented from being able to restock their supplies as aid shipments are systematically prevented from reaching Tigray through various mechanisms, including looting of aid trucks, attacks on drivers & aid convoys, as reported by UNOCHA. These acts have meant that aid shipments are going to spoil instead of reaching millions of people in urgent need of humanitarian aid including over 20,000 children experiencing wasting & tens of thousands of pregnant & lactating women experiencing severe malnutrition. Moreover, patients with chronic conditions including diabetic, dialysis, cancer, & HIV/AIDS have been left without the critical medical services & medicine they need to survive. They are, in the words of the patients themselves, “awaiting their death.” The collapsing healthcare services in Tigray have also created the conditions for disease outbreaks to occur. Should such outbreaks occur, the impact would be devastating as the population has been compromised by high rates of malnutrition & children have not received immunizations since the conflict started. To highlight this impending catastrophe, healthcare professionals at Ayder Referral Hospital in Mekelle, the biggest hospital in Tigray now facing impending total collapse, have written a desperate plea to the world that lays bare the suffering of the people of Tigray. I echo their plea & urge you to: 1.Set the restoration of essential services & delivery of aid as preconditions to engage with the government of Ethiopia. 2.Urge UN Security Council to grant aid organizations to bypass government red tape & other mechanisms of blockade through all means necessary. 3.Demand delivery of food aid & medical supplies to Tigray through an airbridge, bypassing the Ethiopian government, if need be. 4.Conduct a congressional hearing with Tigrayan health professionals in the U.S with a deep understanding of the healthcare system in Tigray & close working contact with health professionals in the region now.
First sent on January 5 by TigraiHub