Healthcare services in Tigray are alarmingly limited and the system is nearly collapsing, leaving hundreds of thousands of people, including those injured during the fighting, without adequate access to essential medicines and basic services. Although the two referral hospitals in the region have resumed operations despite some limitations, only 3 of the 14 general hospitals and 5 of the 24 primary hospitals are fully functional, according to ongoing assessments by the Health Cluster. Further, of the 229 health centres in Tigray, only 151 are fully or partially functional. All centres, however, urgently need more medical supplies, drugs and equipment, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).
Child and maternal services have been drastically disrupted. Only 16 per cent of the health facilities are providing vaccination services while only 22 per cent are providing maternal services, such as antenatal care and birth delivery, according to health partners. Access to drugs also remains critically low at 28 per cent. Most woreda health offices are not yet functional, according to the Health Cluster.
People living in overcrowded conditions in displacement centres face tremendous challenges. The rapid assessment conducted by BoLSA and humanitarians in displacement centres in Mekelle Town, for example, showed a high number of diarrhoeal diseases and women delivering in the camps, as no emergency services are provided during the night. Although free basic attention is being provided, displaced people face challenges to access medicines due to the lack of essential drugs in the hospitals.
WHO and UNICEF are working with the Regional Health Bureau (RHB) to scale up mobile health and nutrition services, deploying Government health workers while hospitals and health centres are gradually restored.
WHO continues to assess the status of health facilities in the region through its Health Resources and Services Availability Monitoring System (HeRAMS) and has so far assessed 184 out of 262 health facilities in Tigray.
IOM is providing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for displaced people in Dabat and Kebero Meda sites in Gondar. Through its Out-Patient Therapeutic Program (OTP) service in Kebero Meda IDP sites, it dewormed 130 children and provided Vitamin A supplementation to 163 children. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine was also provided to 19 girls in Kebero Meda site. Additionally, IOM supported the Azezeo health centre with supplies, such as surgical gloves and UNFPA-donated SRH kits.
International Medical Corps, during the second week of February, provided consultations and treatment for 802 adults and children under age 5, as well as delivery services to 5 women.
At least 180 one-litre bottles of hand sanitizers and 144 boxes of face masks were distributed for Mai Kadra, Korarit and Dejena health centres, according to International Medical Corps. The Emergency response team continued conducting assessment and verification visits to selected health facilities to identify facilities to be supported through UNICEF grant.
MSF continues to support the response through its medical and logistical teams and has scaled up its activities in Abi Adi health centre, now with capacity to 20 beds. It also conducted 95 out-patient consultations and provided comprehensive care to 8 survivors of SGBV in the centre.
UNFPA, in collaboration with UNICEF, UNHCR, MSF Spain and SCI, transported emergency reproductive health kits from Kombolcha WFP warehouse to Mekelle, to be delivered to people in need. In addition to conducting two training sessions for 55 pregnant women in Kebero Meda and Dabat sites in Gondar, UNFPA conducted a monitoring visit to Chagni health clinic in Amhara to assess the required support.
SCI finalized the recruitment of 28 mobile health and nutrition team (MHNT) members and received medical and nutrition supplies to start their operations. WVI has also completed the preparation to deploy its MHNT to health facilities.
Funding remains a challenge as unpaid salaries continue to impede the mobilization of woreda health officers. Resources are also urgently required to revitalize the health system. Only 44 ambulances are operational across the region, according to the Health Cluster, while the RHB is also facing a shortage of vehicles.
Insecurity and limited communications in parts of the region has led to delays in deployment of MHNTs, while the health situation remains unknown in inaccessible areas, including in the North-Western Zone. Most services continue to be focused in major towns and along the main roads. Weak technical capacity of Government and partners on the ground has seriously compromised clinical care for rape survivors, in addition to mental health and psychosocial support for the general population.
Abi Adi hospital remains occupied by the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), preventing up to 500,000 people from accessing health services, according to partners on the ground.