Two rounds of quantitative studies have been conducted by the WHO Country Office in Ukraine to evaluate health needs and the availability of health services for adults. Unfortunately, the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation on February 24th, 2022 has led to a decline in access to healthcare and medication for individuals residing in areas close to the frontline and those displaced internally.
This has been especially challenging for those living in regions partially controlled by the Ukrainian government. Despite the challenges, the health system in the country has demonstrated resilience, and access to health services overall remains relatively high.
However, over half of those seeking medical care faced obstacles, primarily due to medication and treatment costs and issues with transportation and timing.
Among those who experienced difficulties while seeking medical care, three-quarters of them were individuals with chronic conditions. However, more than one-fifth of the respondents did not seek medical attention when necessary. The primary reasons for not consulting a doctor were self-treatment, minor health issues, and high healthcare costs.
Individuals residing in regions that are currently or have previously experienced hostilities are more vulnerable than those in other areas. The available data indicates that these individuals have a reduced level of access to family physicians and medications. Furthermore, approximately one-fifth of those who have been internally displaced lack access to a family doctor.
In September 2022, the initial health needs assessment was conducted, followed by a second assessment in December of the same year. The evidence collected indicates that overall access to medication significantly improved between the two rounds. The barriers that previously hindered access to healthcare services, such as medication shortages, pharmacy closures, lengthy wait times, and security concerns, decreased by up to three-fold.
Individuals who were internally displaced continue to face greater challenges in accessing primary healthcare than those who stayed in their home communities. Fewer of them are aware of the location of primary healthcare facilities, and they have limited access to family physicians. Roughly one-fifth of displaced individuals lack access to a family doctor, compared to only 5% of those who remained in their home communities. However, access to medication has improved significantly, with no notable difference between those who were displaced and those who stayed in their home communities during the second round.