Between the signing of the peace deal and January 11, 2023, a total of 122 patients have died in the Emergency Unit, said Abebe Haftu Emergency Director at Ayder hospital.  The majority of such patients were those with medical illnesses. Lack of available medications is attributable to the majority of such deaths in addition to the problems with medical supplies including oxygen and other basic healthcare services.

Despite the peace deal, which was meant for unfettered medical access to those in desperate need, the death toll in the Emergency Unit is increasing at an alarming rate. In an interview with on Friday, December 23/2022 the Emergency head stated out of those admitted to the emergency Unit, 640 have died since the onset of the Tigray war on November 4, 2020. He added this death doesn’t include death on arrival registries. 

Samson Adisalem, a Pediatric Nurse in the Emergency Unit, says he has not witnessed any progress on the ground since the Peace Accord was reached and things remain as before. ‘They say they are sending drugs and medical supplies but in reality, nothing is reaching here and patients continue to suffer” said Samson. Mengistu Mekonen, a nurse coordinator in the emergency department highlighted that the situation they are in is very devastating underscoring the mounting death rates. The nurse also said that the service being provided is disproportionate to the demand.

The physicians said there is a lack of equipment and medical supplies and no follow-up for the patients who, unprecedentedly, flood from every corner of Tigray. Nurses told that insulin, antibiotics, gloves, and syringes remain beyond reach. ‘We lack basic laboratory reagents such as reagents for Complete Blood Count and simply pain-control medication such as tramadol and pethidine. Lifesaving intravenous fluids, there is a lack in the emergency department ‘they added.

They also reveal their frustration at work, as they have been working without salary for more than two years stating that they must have received services ‘’like other Ethiopians ‘’but they are being ignored which turned life harder for them. ’We have tried our best, but now we are hungry. There is no transportation. The situation we are in is beyond tolerable’, said Mengistu. Samson also said that healthcare staff are ‘psychologically damaged’. Sending patients home to die continues to haunt their consciences. 

The nurses underlined that a person should not be deprived of his natural right to live, stating that the siege is ‘inhumane’ and people should access medical supplies as soon as possible. The nurses are waiting for the peace deal to materialize and positively affect the civilian population. The medical supplies that were given for free during the prewar time are now inaccessible even in the market if one wants to buy them.


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