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Photograph of a solemn young woman holding the flag of Ukraine as the country faces many barriers to health care.
Russian invasion leads to challenges in accessing health care in Ukraine and beyond.
ISTOCK, puhimec

Health Care Disruptions Continue in Ukraine

Russian attacks in Ukraine continue to destabilize the region’s health care ecosystem

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Zahraa Chorghay, PhD

Zahraa Chorghay, PhD, is Today's Clinical Lab's clinical writer/editor.

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Published:Apr 01, 2022
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The situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate, affecting more than 18 million people and leading to 3,167 civilian casualties, including 1,232 deaths. In their latest situational report, the World Health Organization (WHO) has verified 82 attacks on health care since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24 to March 30. 

Since our last update outlining how the Russian invasion has placed Ukraine in a health care crisis, nearly half of all pharmacies in the country have closed. Barriers to health services and medications continue to contribute to increased trauma-related deaths and wound infections. Lack of vaccinations and of treatment for infectious diseases are placing the Ukrainian population at risk of COVID-19, HIV, and tuberculosis (TB). 

The combination of the lack of food security and reliable health care has also increased the risk and difficulty of managing obstetric and neonatal complications, reducing the rates of breastfeeding and contributing to poor infant health, as well as made it difficult to treat chronic diseases and mental illness. 

As more people flee Ukraine, neighboring countries must be prepared to support the health care needs of refugees. Current estimates place roughly 300,000 Ukrainian refugees in each of Czechia, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, and Slovakia, more than 600,000 in Romania, and more than 2 million in Poland. 

Alongside efforts in Ukraine, WHO is coordinating with the governments in these countries to meet a number of crucial health care needs, including specialized medical services for long-term conditions like diabetes and cancer, psychosocial services, vaccines, and generalized medical care.