WHO Raises Concern About The Death Of 73 Neonates In 3 Months In The South Because Of Preventable Causes
December 2, 2016, Tunis, Tunisia – The World Health Organization is deeply concerned about the deaths of neonates in Libya as a result of the deteriorating health system. From July to August this year, 73 neonates died, including 22 due to intra-uterine complications, 18 due to birth asphyxia, 16 due to premature labor and four due to neonatal sepsis. The remaining newborns died of congenital anomalies.
“These deaths could have been easily prevented if the health system in Libya was able provide proper antenatal, natal and postnatal services. WHO has provided eight incubators and five ventilators to the neonatal intensive care unit of Sabah Medical Center, the only tertiary hospital in the South. However, much more needs to be done to ensure the health system is able to function effectively and prevent avoidable deaths.” Said Dr Syed Jaffar Hussain, WHO Representative to Libya/Tunisia.
People in Libya, and especially those living in the south, continue to have limited access to health services. Ensuring the availability of basic health care has become a major challenge for both the government and health partners due to prolonged conflict and insecurity. Extensive efforts in strengthening the health system in the South are required to address the issues of access, availability of preventive and curative services and community based health interventions.
“I call on the Ministry of Health of Libya and the international community to come forward in ensuring urgently needed funding to support the efforts of WHO to prevent further tragic deaths of newborns, and provide life-saving health services for all people in Libya,” said Dr Syed Jaffar Hussain, WHO Representative and Head of Mission to Libya.
As of November 1, requirements of US$ 37 million by the health cluster as part of the Libya Humanitarian Response Plan were only 23% funded.