The World Medical Association has expressed its alarm about the humanitarian crisis that is blocking medical supplies in Ethiopia.
Dr. Heidi Stensmyren, President of the WMA, said that in several regions of Ethiopia, government air strikes were disrupting medical aid, leading to single use items such as gloves, surgical materials and even chest drains being washed and reused. In some places, doctors had replaced disinfectant with salt to clean wounds.
‘These are alarming reports from the International Committee of the Red Cross’, said Dr. Stensmyren. ‘Patients are receiving expired medications, oxygen plants are not working any more, and some health facilities cannot provide routine vaccines.
‘This situation must be denounced. We are calling for the protection and urgent support of health facilities and personnel. It is vital that medical neutrality is respected at all times. Physicians and other health personnel must be allowed to care for the sick and wounded regardless of their background. Humanitarian law requires that all parties in the conflict refrain from attacking and misusing health facilities, transport, and personnel. Violations of medical neutrality constitute crimes.’