ICRC: Healthcare in Ethiopia's Tigray region completely destroyed

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MEKELLE, Ethiopia - Healthcare services in the Tigray region of Ethiopia remain grounded despite the recently signed peace accord between the Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF] and the government of Ethiopia, following two years of turmoil that led to the deaths of thousands of people and mass displacement.

Most healthcare facilities were damaged beyond recognition, the International Committee of the Red Cross [ICRC] said in a statement while calling for more humanitarian assistance to the region, which is fresh from a civil war, the worst in the recent history of the Horn of Africa nation.

In some strategic areas, the committee said in a statement, the healthcare infrastructure is either completely dilapidated or there none. The committee is striving to reach affected families in some of the remote villages of Tigray, the committee added.

“We are only managing to give what we have in our hearts. But that`s not enough, because seeing patients who come to be treated die in your hands is very painful,” says Dr. Erdey Asefa, chief executive officer of Yechilla Primary Hospital.

The existing healthcare facilities, the committee noted, are completely overwhelmed and cannot sustain increasing demand, leaving quite a number of people in uncertainty. Already, the committee further said, several people, have died because they cannot access medical aid.

Ambulances were looted, vandalized, and destroyed during the conflict. Without ambulances to urgently evacuate patients suffering from life-threatening medical conditions, many have died at home. The Ethiopian Red Cross Society ][ERCS], one of the main ambulance service providers in the region, is yet to fully resume services across Tigray because of the lack of logistical supplies.

“We have faced so many challenges. One of them is our driver who was shot while transporting a pregnant woman,” says Berhanu Mekonnen Berhe, the head of the Tigray regional branch of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society.

Services such as electricity, telecommunication, and banking were disrupted in the Tigray region, with flights also suspended from Addis Ababa to the northern state. However, the peace deal which is yet to be fully implemented, settled a number of contentious issues, thus leading to the resumption of critical services.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been accused of failing to leverage the current political atmosphere to extend an olive branch to other parts of the country where some communities are dissatisfied with his administration. Apart from Tigray, he is facing resistance in his own Oromia backyard.

GAROWE ONLINE

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