WHO leader says “critical” oxygen shortage in Ukraine will impact ability to treat Covid-19 patients

World Health Organization leaders on Wednesday spoke about need to deliver oxygen to Ukraine to treat Covid-19 patients and those with other conditions. 

“Critical shortage of oxygen will have an impact on the ability to treat patients with Covid-19 and many other conditions. At least three major oxygen plants in Ukraine have now closed and we’re seeking ways of accessing oxygen from neighboring countries and ways to deliver it safely to where it’s needed,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a news briefing.  

Tedros said there is an “urgent need” to establish a corridor so supplies can be transported in the region. 

“I think the estimate just last week was 2,000 people on oxygen, high-flow oxygen for Covid,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, said, adding that the number has likely risen since then, including people who need oxygen for non-Covid conditions. 

“Oxygen is not just life-saving in Covid, oxygen is life-saving full-stop. And you need it when you need it. You can’t wait until tomorrow for oxygen. You can’t wait until next week. You can’t be put on a waiting list for oxygen. You can’t stand in the queue for oxygen. Oxygen saves your life right now. And when you need it, you need it,” he said.

“If we do not get oxygen into the system and other critical drugs, people will die needlessly. Well, they’re dying needlessly start with, but there’s a secondary level of needlessness,” he added/

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