U.S. Calls for Updated Report on the Health Emergency Arising From Russia’s Aggression Against Ukraine
Statement Delivered by Ambassador Sheba Crocker at the WHO Executive Board
We commend WHO’s work at the international, regional, and country levels to continue its critical response efforts to COVID-19 and to the many other health emergencies around the world. We continue to encourage WHO’s support of the Health Cluster to coordinate humanitarian health action and adhere to the Emergency Response Framework.
The emphasis that WHO puts on cooperation at all levels, from Member State to civil society, the private sector, and community leaders, remains key. We urge WHO to be fully inclusive of all partners, including Taiwan, and support Taiwan’s participation as observers to the WHA and in the work of WHO, affirming the slogan of “Health for All.”
We will submit a written statement regarding WHO’s work in health emergencies.
I will now move to the Implementation of Resolution WHA75.11 on the Ukraine Health Emergency.
As we near the one-year anniversary of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified full-scale invasion of Ukraine, we remain gravely concerned about the impacts on the health of Ukraine’s population, surrounding regions, and countless other vulnerable communities.
The humanitarian crisis caused by Russia’s aggression is indefensible. We strongly condemn Russia’s attacks that have caused unspeakable harm to civilians and critical infrastructure in Ukraine, including nearly 750 WHO-verified attacks on health care and the destruction of more than 170 medical facilities. This senseless death and destruction falls brutally on children, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups’ access to vital health care. Sexual violence by Russia’s military, particularly against women and children, has both immediate and long-term health impacts.
As outlined in the Secretariat’s report, conditions in Ukraine have only worsened. Russia’s actions have created compounding humanitarian crises in Ukraine and beyond, with huge costs for the UN and its Member States.
We thank WHO and its partners who are working tirelessly to provide access to lifesaving supplies and services to affected communities and health workers. We appreciate insights into how WHO is responding, and encourage WHO to continue using its resources, capacities, and authorities through the Health Emergencies Program to support a robust, coordinated response across all three levels of the organization. We also recognize WHO’s efforts to ensure resources and mechanisms are in place to address and prevent sexual exploitation and abuse during this emergency.
In light of the dire and worsening situation, we request an updated report from the Secretariat on the health emergency in Ukraine and surrounding regions. We would like the report to include an update on attacks on health care since October 2022, and the secondary impacts of the war to better understand how these trends impact relief efforts and the overall functioning of Ukraine’s health system. We would also request this report include an assessment of access to sexual and reproductive health services and care, particularly for survivors of sexual violence. We would welcome a Member State briefing on this issue ahead of WHA76 in May.
Finally, our partnership with, and commitment to, the people of Ukraine is steadfast and enduring. The United States will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.