In Libya’s Tripoli, fighting between General Khalifa Haftar’s forces and the forces fighting against them has been continuously increasing since it began in early April. The violence has spread throughout Tripoli and has killed at least 220 people, as well as wounding over 1000, according to the World Health Organization (‘WHO’).
In response, the WHO has helped set up and run frontline hospitals, in hopes of minimising casualties. Dr Syed Jaffar Hussain explained that the organization has “sent emergency medical teams to help frontline hospitals cope with caseloads and to support surgical staff in collaboration with the Ministry of Health… and also plan to deploy additional emergency teams and supplies to support first-line responders and have activated 3 sets of contingency stocks, which were pre-positioned in strategic sites before the fighting began.”
The work of the WHO is particularly important during war, such as what is happening in Libya. This is as hospitals and ambulance teams are continuing to be bombed, and staff have died from these attacks. This continues to inhibit the already limited resources in Tripoli. The WHO has called out for international aid but continue to work in the region with all available resources. The WHO has heavily condemned the killings of two doctors in the area, emphasising the importance of these people not being targeted in armed conflicts.
The organization ensures that the help they give is the best possible for each conflict they work with. At the end of March, they ran workshops to introduce community health workers to difficulties faced specifically in Libya. This is on top of the training that all workers already receive. Dr Hussain said that the aim of these workshops was to “enhance the trust of the community and improving access to health services through primary health care; an integral part of achieving universal health coverage in the country.” The content of these workshops has been created in conjunction with Libyan officials, to maximize their impact.
The work of the WHO is central to these sorts of emergencies and often means life or death for many victims of the fighting. They provide the best help available to these people in need, and it is central that they continue to have the greatest resources available.