In the course of Ukraine’s civil conflict, an issue of global significance has emerged. There has been a dramatic increase in demand for medical services in Ukraine as individuals flee combat zones to seek safety. It is feasible to avert future catastrophes, said Xavier Castellanos Mosquera, assistant secretary of the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies. It can’t be done by a single organization or institution.

As per the WHO, 290 medical institutions have been destroyed or broken beyond repair as a result of the conflict in Ukraine. 4.6 million people in eastern Ukraine, according to UNICEF, are at risk of forfeiting access to safe drinking water, increasing their vulnerability to water-borne illnesses such as acute watery diarrhea. UNICEF estimates that this number might rise. Lack of energy renders water restorative and sanitation systems unworkable.

Several bordering nations, including Romania, Hungary, Belarus, and Moldova, were already suffering from the effects of COVID-19 before the conflict. Health resources may be redirected away from individuals still infected with COVID-19 even though each country has more people with access to healthcare. Additional resources are required to address the ever-increasing healthcare needs of the population.

“By the day, the situation is becoming worse,” a representative for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Emergency Health warned. “Immigration to the United States and other Western countries has surged. People in Ukraine and other eastern countries in Europe are suffering from a wide range of illnesses because of overpopulation, inadequate housing, food stress, and environmental exposure.” 

Vaccine-preventable disorders like COVID-19 are likely to return if there are no vaccines that meet safety requirements for diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer, among others.

The high prevalence of HIV along with tuberculosis in Ukraine makes it a dangerous place for returning refugees and Ukrainian healthcare staff alike. For example, the Red Cross urges governments and the international community to support long-term fair access to vaccines, testing and treatment, safe drinking water, and mental health and psychiatric care.

A Red Cross general hospital in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, will open this month to provide free urgent and primary care to all patients after 100,000 people fled war zones and more than doubled the population. 

Working with local authorities, the clinic plans to aid individuals in need in the upcoming years. More than a dozen mobile healthcare units are already helping displaced people with mental health & psychological concerns, and more are on their way. Meals, diapers, and other necessities are also available to those in need.

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