EU transfers chronically ill Ukrainian children from Poland to Italy

On March 13, the EU coordinated the first MEDEVAC operation by transferring chronically ill paediatric patients from Poland to Italy, the European Commission said in a statement.

The operation was financially and operationally supported by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and is part of the European solidarity mechanism for intra-EU medical transfers of refugees and displaced people, the statement said.

The operation was carried out by an Italian medical team at the request of and in close cooperation with Poland.

The statement said that the EU was also continuing to deliver emergency assistance to Poland via the Mechanism, with France, Germany, Denmark and Austria offering a significant amount of medicines, medical and shelter equipment as well as paediatric vaccines.

In a joint statement, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UN Population Fund and the World Health Organization called for an immediate cessation of all attacks on health care in Ukraine.

“These horrific attacks are killing and causing serious injuries to patients and health workers, destroying vital health infrastructure and forcing thousands to forgo accessing health services despite catastrophic needs,” the statement said.

“To attack the most vulnerable – babies, children, pregnant women, and those already suffering from illness and disease, and health workers risking their own lives to save lives – is an act of unconscionable cruelty.”

It said that in Ukraine, since the start of the war, 31 attacks on health care had been documented via the WHO’s Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care (SSA). 

According to these reports, in 24 incidents health care facilities were damaged or destroyed, while in five cases ambulances were damaged or destroyed.

These attacks have led to at least 12 deaths and 34 injuries, and affected access to and availability of essential health services.

WHO was verifying further reports, as attacks continue to be reported despite the calls for protection of health care, said the joint statement, which held back from directly naming Russia.

(Photo: EC Audiovisual Service)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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