The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) transported its first shipment of medical supplies to Tigray. Due to conflicts in the region, this is the first aid shipment since last year. The lifesaving supplies, including essential drugs and surgical supplies, will be spread to several health facilities. The first shipment will help treat almost 200 injured people with more medical assistance to be sent soon.
Due to the lack of supplies, doctors were forced to reuse single-use items like gloves, surgical materials, and even chest drains, increasing infection risk. In certain areas, doctors used salt instead of disinfectant to clean wounds. Apollo Barasa, Health Coordinator for the ICRC delegation in Ethiopia, stated that patients receive expired medications, oxygen plants are not working anymore, and some health facilities cannot provide routine vaccines.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated that roughly 3.9 million people in Tigray need health services and interventions. There have been several reports by health workers regarding a lack of access to diabetes medication, dialysis services, chemotherapy drugs, anesthesia, antibiotics, antiretroviral treatment, and shortages of oxygen and blood supply.
The ICRC will send more medical assistance shipments in the coming days and weeks. It also plans to dispatch a humanitarian convoy by road when conditions allow. The organization also assists health facilities in the Amhara and Afar regions due to damages to their health systems.