Gaza health situation is ‘catastrophic’: WHO chief

WHO chief

GENEVA: The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on Gaza’s healthcare sector has been “catastrophic”, the World Health Organization chief said on Sunday (December 10) at an emergency board meeting, saying conditions were ideal for the spread of deadly diseases.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the 34-member board it would be all but impossible for the WHO to improve the situation given the ongoing violence.

A motion being reviewed by the board proposed by Afghanistan, Morocco, Qatar and Yemen demands passage for medical personnel and their supplies and tasks the WHO with securing funding to rebuild hospitals.

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Yet Tedros said that it would be “almost impossible” to meet those requests given the security situation on the ground and said he deeply regretted that the United Nations Security Council could not agree on a ceasefire following a U.S. veto.

The motion was criticised by Israel who has said it gives disproportionate attention to Israel and does not address what is describes as Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields, by placing command centres and weapons inside hospitals.

Such WHO emergency sessions are rare and have occurred during health crises including during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and during West Africa’s Ebola epidemic in 2015.

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