Dec 7, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Health crisis looms in Tigray as main hospital closes

Ayder Referral Hospital, the largest and only operating hospital in Ethiopia’s war-ravaged Tigray region, said it has been forced to stop providing services due to a lack of medical supplies.

< p>In conversation with BBC-Amharic, Dr. Kibrom Gebresilase, the hospital’s technical director, said the health facility could not provide services due to power outages, shortages of medicines and fuel shortages.

Ayder Hospital has been without medical supplies and basic equipment for the past 20 months and is struggling to treat patients.

“We’re out of medication, there’s no anesthesia, no oxygen supply. It’s been a year since the hospital’s oxygen supply was cut off,” he said.


In April, the hospital sent 240 patients home after running out of food supplies.

A month later, health officials and hospital staff said more patients were being discharged due to an acute shortage of food died without essential medical supplies.

They said an average of four to six patients died every day from lack of essential medical supplies


In January, the hospital recorded 117 deaths due to lack of medical supplies.

Hospital officials and Tigray leaders blame the Ethiopian government for the deaths responsible.

After war broke out between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and federal and allied regional forces in November 2020, the Ethiopian government enforced what the UN called a “de facto blockade” calls against Tigray. This has prevented life-saving medicines and emergency humanitarian aid from reaching millions, including hundreds of thousands who remain in starvation-like conditions.

International aid organizations have reported that many people in the region are at risk of food and medical shortages care.

Infant deaths

A few weeks ago, Ayder Hospital was also forced to stop providing specialized medical care to newborns and pregnant women.

Deaths in Infants


Pregnant women in preterm labor could not give birth in the health facility due to lack of oxygen and fluids administered to the newborns intravenously.

As a result, infant mortality is increasing .


Last month, the head of Ayder Hospital, Tewodros Kahsay, said deaths due to medicine shortages were being reported by the relatives of the Healthy health professions took a toll.

“Our healthcare workers also die due to a lack of medical care. said the health official.

“Two nurses have died in the past two months ed.

“We could not diagnose their condition because the MRI machine was not working,” added he added.

Mr Kahsay said he treats patients with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and kidney disease have become difficult without laboratory tests, medicines and electricity.

Previously, medical staff at the Ayder- The hospital said it was unable to perform surgeries due to a lack of IV fluids and anesthetics.

They said frequent power outages and insufficient oxygen supplies had resulted in patient deaths.

After almost 18 months After the conflict in northern Ethiopia, the health system in the region – home to an estimated seven million people – has “completely collapsed,” according to local health officials.

Recently, health workers in Tigr ay told the New Humanitarian news agency that the shortage is so acute that they are using expired drugs to treat chronic conditions, while tens of thousands of patients with diabetes, cancer and HIV have not been treated for months.

< p>Patients are asked to bring old clothes to the hospital for surgeons to use as gauze during surgeries.

Test tubes, surgical gloves and breathing tubes are all reused, and there are not enough detergents to wash soiled hospital linens.< /p>

16th-century healthcare

A doctor in Mekelle compared Tigray’s healthcare system to a “Swiss cheese” that was missing most of the key components.

“It’s not more like 21st century; it’s more like the 16th or 17th,” said the doctor, who requested anonymity.

“Patients just die before your eyes.”

Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee by The Red Cross says most of the area’s health facilities were destroyed and unable to provide services.

With approximately 3,600 staff, Ayder Referral Hospital has been a vital medical service provider to people in Tigray and neighboring Afar and Amhara Regions.