The World Health Organization (WHO), with the Health Cluster, is airlifting 33.5 metric tonnes of medicines, medical supplies & equipment into Tigray in shipments of 10 metric tonnes per day, starting “Friday this week,” WHO Ethiopia office said.
The news came amid deepening health crisis in Tigray. In November, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom said that WHO was unable to “send supplies and medicines to Tigray because it’s under blockade, and the blockade is systematic.”
According to the UNOCHA latest report released on 10 February, “health partners estimate that 2,200 MT of emergency health kits, 1.5 million doses of cholera vaccine, polio oral vaccination for 888,000 children under five years,more than 30,000 MT of nutrition supplies for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in outpatient clinics and 100 MT for children hospitalized at stabilization centers, about 830 MT of nutrient supplements to fortify the nutrition of 1.4 million people, mainly women and children, and 15,000 MT of Vitamin A supplements, are required to meet the urgent nutrition and health needs in the region solely. The community is reported to have resorted to extreme coping strategies, for instance, Ayder hospital, the main hospital in Mekelle, is mobilizing bed sheets from the community to make gauze.”
On 04 February, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it “flew in its tenth cargo plane in ten days carrying vital medical supplies into the Tigray region of Ethiopia.”
“The flights delivered essential drugs, such as insulin, hemodialysis, oxytocin, tetanus toxoid, gloves and surgical material to health facilities. The supplies, which were provided by the Ministry of Health and the ICRC, will help cover the immediate medical needs of thousands of people.”
The UNOCHA on its part said that “between 2-4 February, a partner INGO made three cargo flights with 14.5 MT of medicines including antibiotics, glucose for treatment of diabetes, oral hydration solution, anti-worm, anti-allergy, and anti-fungal drugs.”
However, the UNOCHA cautioned that “life-saving assistance via air remains limited and is far from what is required to support the response in the [Tigray] region.”