Written by Christos Tsagkaris, Nazli Begum Ozturk, Lolita Matiashova
The 15th November 2022 marked the heaviest missile attack since the beginning of the Russia–Ukraine war. Power outages occurred across Ukraine and in neighbouring countries such as Moldova while two missiles reportedly destroyed infrastructure and killed at least two individuals in Poland. Blackouts pose a direct threat to patients connected to biomedical equipment. For every two hours without electricity, in-patient mortality increases by 43%, affecting primarily patients in intensive care units and operating theatres. Although electricity generators may be available in hospitals, home-dwelling patients rarely have such a back-up plan. Thermosensitive medical supplies, from insulin to vaccines, can also be degraded, depleting thousands of individuals from therapeutic or preventive interventions. The latter includes vaccines against COVID-19, poliomyelitis, flu, and monkeypox. Such infectious outbreaks can clearly propel the health implications of missile attacks miles away from the line of fire, disrupting the mobility of individuals and goods and increasing further food insecurity, social inequalities and conflict globally.