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Ukraine’s Health Care System Imperiled by War

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By Allison Kozicharow; Edited by Elizabeth Fine

The war in Ukraine is severely damaging the country’s health care system, and doctors and nurses have been at the forefront of the crisis.

How has the war affected the medical professionals who address the health needs of the Ukrainian people?

Mariupol Hospital
Wikipedia Creative Commons Photo

Increased demand for care. The war has led to an increased demand for healthcare services in Ukraine. Many people have been injured or displaced by the war, and they need medical care. This has put a strain on the healthcare system, and it has made it difficult for doctors and nurses to provide care to everyone who needs it. Not only have trauma cases increased because of the shootings and bombings but crowded conditions and deteriorating sanitation have increased infectious diseases. A lack of medications, reduced supplies of healthy food and a lack of proper exercise have spiked the incidence of noncommunicable diseases.

Workplace disruptions. Many hospitals and clinics have been damaged or destroyed by the war, and doctors and nurses have been forced to work in makeshift facilities. This has made it difficult to provide quality care to patients.

Physical and mental health impacts. Doctors and nurses have been exposed to the physical and mental health impacts of war, including witnessing violence, death, and injury. They have also been working long hours in difficult conditions, which has taken a toll on their physical and mental health.

Financial impacts. Many doctors and nurses have not been paid for their work since the start of the war, and they are struggling to make ends meet. The cost of living in Ukraine has also increased significantly, making it even more difficult for doctors and nurses to afford basic necessities. This further impacts their capacity to tolerate the extraordinary demands on them as they address the many needs of the population.

How is WiRED planning to help?

Despite the challenges they face, doctors and nurses in Ukraine are continuing to provide care to their patients. They are working long hours in difficult conditions, and they’re putting their own lives at risk to help others. The world is grateful for their dedication and service, but the question arises: How can we help them deal with the growing demands on their services and skills, while they face diminishing resources under the conditions of a war targeted directly at the civilian population?

Vasylivka Multidisciplinary Intensive Care Hospital
DirectRelief Photo

Nothing short of a resolution to the war will halt the deplorable conditions that afflict the people and severely tax the capacity of the healthcare system and those who serve in it. However, there may be measures that can ease the burden of medical professionals and allow the people themselves to contribute more to the health of the civilian population. 

WiRED, which has provided a range of health education services in countries affected by conflict and war, has carefully examined the situation in Ukraine and arrived at a plan for how we can assist. During the past several months, our volunteers have been actively constructing a program that is nearing completion and soon will be ready for release. We will announce the details of this program within the next several weeks.