Geneva: Global health watchdog– the World Health Organization — on Tuesday said that 10 million people, or about one-fourth of Ukraine’s population, may suffer from mental health disorders in relation to the ongoing conflict in that country.
“WHO estimates that up to 10 million people are at risk of some form of a mental disorder, varying from anxiety and stress to more severe conditions,” Jarno Habicht, WHO’s representative in Ukraine told a news gathering via video link in Geneva.
Acute mental conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by distressing events are likely to afflict one in every four Ukrainians going through the war, WHO said. Cases of mental ailments are rising after 10 months of conflict, prompting a separate United Nations agency to launch online support services where needed.
War-torn Ukraine’s healthcare system has been under pressure since Russia invaded the country in February 2022. So far, there have been at least 700 attacks on its healthcare system, WHO data shows, and Russia’s increase in attacks on critical infrastructure such as the power grid since October, has added to the challenges by plunging the country into darkness.
Responding to global criticism, Moscow, has however, denied targeting civilians in what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine. But reports and images emerging out of Ukraine have revealed mass graves and torture chambers in cities and regions occupied by Russian troops.
The WHO has said respiratory diseases would increase with the cold weather and insufficient heating as would car accidents caused by unlit streets due to extensive blackouts.
“The health system is functioning. But as it is 10 months it’s a huge stress test,” he said. “We are constantly seeing new challenges,” Habicht told the media.
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