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The War in Ukraine: Presenting Ever-Growing Health Concerns

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By Allison Kozicharow; Edited by Staff

Credit: US Department of Defense

In our 25-year history WiRED International has provided health education in conflict locations such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Iraq. This year WiRED is poised to deliver a vital health training program to another war zone: Ukraine.

News and media outlets feature Russia’s invasion of Ukraine every day. As a result of this offensive Ukraine is now suffering a major public health crisis of devastating impact.

Here are only a few of the ways the war has affected the health of people in Ukraine:

  • Increased death and injury — An estimated 5.9 million people have been displaced from their homes, and tens of thousands have been injured or killed.
  • Disruption of health care — Many hospitals have been damaged or destroyed, and many healthcare workers have been injured or killed, making it difficult to find care, especially in areas where fighting is intense.
  • Devastation in Bucha, Ukraine. Thanks to Rawpixel for the use of this photo.
    Increased risk of infectious diseases — People who have been displaced from their homes are more likely to be exposed to infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, in communal settings, and they may have difficulty accessing clean water and sanitation, leading to an increase in the number of cases of diarrhea and respiratory infections.
  • Increased risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) — NCDs such as cancer, diabetes and congestive heart failure rise as a result of stress and anxiety, poor diet and physical inactivity, lack of access or the money to pay for medications and treatments.

While the war in Ukraine rages on, it is important to the Ukrainian people that governments and NGOs take steps to address the health needs of the population. Providing medical care and supplies to the injured and sick are important, but given limited resources and a focus on military assistance, it is unlikely that medical donations will arrive in time or in sufficient quantities to address all the needs. Help to ease the healthcare burdens can come in other forms as well, and that’s where WiRED plans to offer its contributions to the Ukrainian people. 

WiRED is currently working on a project for Ukraine that can contribute significantly to addressing many of the health issues faced by the besieged population. We will announce the release of this program within the next several weeks.