Ukrainian medical workers have paid steep toll in war: Health ministry

Medical staff members carry a man on a stretcher in a hospital in Mariupol on June 3, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

KYIV (NYTIMES) - On the day the war in Ukraine started its sixth month, the nation's Health Ministry took notice of the steep price that has been paid by medics on the front lines and by health care workers treating the wounded in hospitals across the country.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began on Feb 24, 18 medical workers have been killed and more than 50 injured, Ukraine's Health Ministry said on Sunday (July 24).

Furthermore, 123 medical facilities have been destroyed by Russian attacks, and 746 are in need of repairs after strikes.

The Health Ministry said in a Facebook post that the assaults were a "targeted destruction of the medical infrastructure".

Throughout the war, Russia has shown its willingness to strike civilian targets. Although Moscow claims to only attack sites of military value, its advances have killed civilians in theatres, malls, apartment buildings and on playgrounds.

Health care facilities have been hit, too. On the first day of the war, an attack on a hospital in the eastern city of Vuhledar killed four people and wounded 10. The next day, a children's hospital and cancer centre were struck elsewhere in Ukraine.

In March, an exceptionally bloody Russian missile strike hit a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, injuring 17 hospital workers and patients. A pregnant woman injured in the strike died days later.

The assaults have kept coming, limiting some Ukrainians' access to health care. Four evacuation flights are made every week to transport Ukrainians abroad for medical treatment, according to Ukraine's Health Ministry. So far, it said 1,274 have been sent abroad for treatment since the war began.

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