TRIPOLI, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday said it needed $43.5 million to provide life-saving medical assistance for 388,000 people affected by armed conflict in Libya.
A young boy is seen among the migrants and refugees seated on a rubber boat and waiting to be rescued by the Topaz Responder, a rescue ship run by Maltese NGO "Moas" and the Italian Red Cross, on November 4, 2016 off the Libyan coast. (File photos: VCG)
According to an assessment by WHO and the Libyan Health Ministry in 2017, 17.5 percent of the country's hospitals, 20 percent of the primary health care facilities, and 18 specialized hospitals are either partially damaged or completely destroyed.
"Years of conflict in Libya have left behind a struggling and over-burdened health care system. Many health facilities are fully or partially closed," said WHO Representative to Libya Jaffar Hussain Syed, adding that people have limited access to health care services on account of the eight-year conflict.
WHO also said that 41 attacks against medical workers and facilities have been recorded in Libya in 2018-2019, as the country has been suffering severe shortage of essential medical supplies and services, and limited capacity of national public health programs have increased the risk of transmission of infectious diseases.
"Migrants, displaced people, refugees, and rural communities are especially at risk. Inadequate access to health care is also impacting patients with chronic diseases, people with special needs and mental health conditions, as well as mothers in need of reproductive, maternal, and newborn child health services," WHO said in a statement later Wednesday.
Oil-rich Libya has been suffering violence and political instability ever since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi's government in 2011. The north African nation has been struggling to make a transition amid insecurity and chaos.
Cover image: Refugees and migrants wait to be rescued from a small wooden boat by crew members from the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) Phoenix vessel on May 18, 2017 off Lampedusa, Italy.