Patients wounded in ongoing violence and those facing other life-threatening conditions in Ethiopia’s Amhara region are receiving urgent and lifesaving medical care in health facilities supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS).
Over the past week, heavy fighting has spread across Amhara region, home to Ethiopia’s second-largest ethnic group. In early August, Amhara Fano militia fighters briefly seized several towns and cities, before being recaptured by the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF).
Due to the security situation in the Amhara region, many health facilities have not been able to replenish supplies, while ambulances could not move quickly to respond to emergencies in the most affected areas, ICRC said in a Wednesday statement.
“We ran out of vital supplies and oxygen in the first few days of the fighting,” said Dr Kassaye Demeke, emergency and clinical care specialist at Gondar University Referral Hospital. “Many patients in intensive care died because we could not do any major surgery. Medicines, water and electricity are in short supply, and it is impossible sometimes to clean wounds. We do not have enough drips, plates, and screws to stitch fractures, and are prioritizing the most critical cases.”
The ICRC, in collaboration with the ERCS, has delivered urgent medical and surgical supplies to the following hospitals in Ethiopia’s Amhara region:
- The University of Gondar Teaching and Referral Hospital
- Debre Berhan Comprehensive Specialized Hospital
- Lalibela General Hospital
- Felege Hiwot Comprehensive Specialized Referral Hospital in Bahir Dar
- Shewa Robit Primary Hospital
These hospitals have faced increased pressure due to the influx of patients with injuries related to the fighting.
The deliveries of assistance included intravenous fluids, suture materials, antibiotics, painkillers, gloves, orthopaedic and fracture repair materials, physiotherapy materials, surgical drainage tubes, anaesthesia consumables and dressing materials such as gauze and bandages. The ICRC has also assisted with the transportation of blood supplies provided by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.
“It has been difficult for our teams to move or communicate in the region,” said Delphine Leterrier, the ICRC’s head of sub-delegation in Gondar. “But we were able to coordinate with the most affected health facilities to overcome some immediate shortages.”
The ICRC said it continues to mobilize vital supplies to support more health facilities across Amhara providing urgent healthcare services to patients with life-threatening conditions.