ACN joins international call to address health system collapse in Ethiopia

The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is joining its colleagues at the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and Ethiopian Nurses Association (ENA) in calling for urgent measures to address the collapse of the health care system in Tigray, Ethiopia after 18 months of war in the region.

ICN is a federation of more than 130 National Nurses Associations and has worked with the ENA to spotlight the deteriorating situation for nurses and health care workers in Tigray. They are reporting ongoing communication, pay and health services are blocked by the government despite a humanitarian truce.

As Australia’s leading representative of ICN (in collaboration with the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation), ACN Acting CEO Yvonne Mckinlay FACN echoed their concerns about the conditions of nurses and health care professionals in the region.

“I am concerned about the ICN and the ENA reports that hospitals and health services are closing down in Tigray and nurses have been working without income or access to food,” she said.

“Alongside our international nursing and health care colleagues, ACN supports calls for a humanitarian truce to be enforced and food, medical supplies and pay to be re-established in the region. Nurses use their expertise to care for consumers of all ages from birth to death and protection of our personal safety and wellbeing must be paramount everywhere we work across the world.”

Ms Mckinlay also highlighted that the denial of access to health services exacerbates the long-term impact of gendered crimes reported in the region.

“I am particularly concerned about the health and safety of women and girls in the region, as there have been many reports of mutilation, sexual violence and intentional infection with a life-limiting illness as a method of ethnic cleansing. It is unacceptable to see sexual violence used as a weapon of war and urgent medical supplies are needed to support women and girls who have been exposed to these extremely traumatic experiences” she said.

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