Media centre | News | Press archive | 2011 | WHO provides urgent health and relief supplies to Libyans

WHO provides urgent health and relief supplies to Libyans

Print PDF

The World Health Organization, through its Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, continues its efforts to provide humanitarian relief and health support to people affected by the current intensifying events in a number of countries of the Region, especially the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

WHO reiterates the importance of urgent action to contain the catastrophic situation in most of the Libyan cities, and to avoid the emergence of potential pandemics due to the severe lack of food items and clean drinking-water, in addition to the setback in routine immunization services against the killer childhood diseases in the tense areas. WHO warns that the nutritional and health situation may jeopardize the country’s health security. Violence against protesters threatens their fundamental right to life.

The Regional Office has taken major steps to ensure the provision of essential medicines and basic medical requirements to the affected areas through a humanitarian corridor. Currently a WHO field team is coordinating relief action in collaboration with health development partners in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and on the border areas.

In this regard, a preliminary assessment of the health situation in five Libyan cities has been made in collaboration with other health partners. It covered the availability of health workers, and the health care facilities that can provide routine and first aid services. The assessment demonstrated an urgent need for medical teams of different specialties, including bone surgery, eye surgery and cardiac surgery, in addition to anaesthesia specialists and radiologists. This is attributed mainly to the departure of expatriate physicians who left the country because of the current events. The assessment also showed that the structure of the two main hospitals in Benghazi and Al-Bayda’, like other health facilities in other cities, suffered damage.

WHO, in collaboration with the Arab Medical Union, continues to provide medical assistance. Around 100 physicians from different specialties are currently working to compensate the shortage in health services, and to provide care for the injured and to patients affected by the lack of health services.

WHO urges all Member States and other concerned parties to take part in providing the essential requirements to immediately equip and operationalize the medical teams in order to guarantee the availability of preventive and medical care in the Libyan cities which are passing through these difficult circumstances. Partners can contact the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean which has established a list of priorities.

WHO is also working through its offices in Egypt, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Tunisia and in collaboration with other humanitarian organizations to assess the situation and needs inside the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and on the border areas, and provide health care for nationals of these and other countries who have had to leave. WHO confirms its readiness to provide humanitarian and health supplies to the Libyans affected by the events. In this regard, it calls upon all governments, civil society and individuals to participate in the relief efforts to support people in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and to work closely with the Regional Office to respond to their calls for assistance and alleviate their suffering.