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1.9m people have no proper medical services in Libya, says WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed its concerns over the death of 12 new-born babies in a Libyan hospital, and noted that an estimated 1.9 million people out of 6.3 million in the country are in need of "urgent health assistance," Masalarabia.com reported on Friday.

The WHO's representative in Libya, Jaffar Hussain Syed, said that the "tragic deaths occurred as a result of easily preventable causes." He stressed the severe deterioration of the health system in the country.

The 12 babies died in Sabah Medical Centre, which is the only one of its kind providing neonatal care units in the whole of southern Libya. "If urgent action is not taken," explained Syed, "further loss of life is feared, particularly among the most vulnerable within the population." These deaths, he added, were due to a bacterial infection and a lack of specialist care.

The international organisation warned that the ailing Libyan health care system "is on the brink of collapse" and urged the government and the international community to respond to the Humanitarian Response Plan to reinforce life-saving interventions and save lives. According to Masaralarabia.com, the plan requires $50 million and only 20 per cent of this amount has been raised from international donors. The WHO alone needs $15.2 million of the total.

"We have acute shortages of life-saving medicines all across Libya," the WHO representative said earlier. "It is not one particular place, but hospitals and clinics, everywhere." More than 40 per cent of the healthcare facilities in Libya have closed down or are dysfunctional for various reasons. "They are either in a conflict zone, or there are no human resources, or they have no electricity even to run the hospital."

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