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WHO requests donor support to fix failing healthcare system in Libya

WHO requests donor support to fix failing healthcare system in Libya


Donors must help Libya rebuild its devastated health care system and fight increasing outbreaks of diseases, the health minister and the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

A new round of U.N.-backed negotiations to try and end the conflict in Libya has failed to establish a unity government yet again leaving millions of people without urgent healthcare services.

The WHO says it needs about 50 million U.S. dollars in 2016 for life-saving medicines in the country.

We have acute shortages of life saving medicines, all across Libya, it's not one particular place, hospitals, clinics, everywhere.

An estimated 1.9 million people in the country of 6.3 million are said to be in need of “urgent health assistance,” according to the WHO.

“We have acute shortages of life saving medicines all across Libya, it’s not one particular place, hospitals, clinics, everywhere. We have more than 40 percent health facilities being closed down, dysfunctional for various reasons. They are either in a conflict zone, or there are no human resources, or they have no electricity even to run the hospital,” said Jaffar Hussain, the WHO Representative in Libya.

Hussain said member states were willing to support, but they are waiting for a government of national accord to be in place, which would only worsen the situation.

Programs for tuberculosis, malaria, chronic diseases, mental health and HIV/AIDS are increasingly becoming dysfunctional while maternal health care is also not readily available.

“Maternal and child health is the biggest need, a health system where every mother goes to deliver in a hospital setting before the conflict, and now we have reports that mothers are delivering mostly at home without being attended by a trained birth attendant,” said Hussain.

Over 60 percent of hospitals are shut down or totally dysfunctional and over 80 percent of staff in highly skilled areas like intensive care and emergency rooms and operating rooms have left since the 2011 revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya’s internationally recognized parliament voted on Monday to reject a unity government proposed under a United Nations-backed plan to resolve the political crisis and armed conflict.

The North African state has become a regional concern since Islamic State militants gained ground there and called for foreign recruits from the region.

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