The Russian Invasion of Ukraine and Its Impact on Public Health

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine and Its Impact on Public Health

Public HealthThe recent Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has undoubtedly created terrible consequences on the public health of civilians on both sides. This catastrophic event has brought damage to the people’s health beyond just bullets and explosives, leading to even worse population health stability and shared global health security.

This event comes even before the end of the 2- year global pandemic COVID-19, which has already taken a toll on the public health system globally, especially the Eastern Europe countries, which are still struggling to replenish the health system facilities, thus resulting in substantial pressure on the health system. However, the war has made it quite difficult for these countries to meet the needs of their citizens due to the destruction of social amenities and displacement of health workers.

Public Health Implications of The Invasion

  • Inadequate medical necessities such as drugs

the health sector has had a significant hit on both countries’ health care systems, alongside the ongoing needs of people with chronic and infectious conditions that are highly dependent on drugs. However, the ability of these countries to meet their needs is being limited by the depletion of drugs and consumables since these stocks are rapidly consumed, particularly drugs such as antibiotics which are essential for people with cancer.

  • Delayed medical attention to patients

People with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart conditions might not get the optimal treatment that requires early diagnosis, scheduling screening sessions, and medication administration. All the governments are struggling to try and replenish the public finances to try and meet these needs at the optimal time to help those in need.

Risk of the spread of diseases 

There is a high risk of infectious diseases spreading since the sanitation system, such as clean water supply, the ongoing war has compromised the sound drainage system. Densely populated areas are at a higher risk of contracting these diseases, such as diarrhea, cholera, and TB, leading to more deaths than those caused by explosives.

There is also a disruption in the immunization programs across the countries, leading to lower vaccine coverage, thus increasing the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and polio, especially among children.

  • Mental health consequences

Wars affect people in the community differently. For instance, women and children are very vulnerable in this situation. They might need to flee from these conflict zones because of the disruption of social networks, which act as a protective defense for women and children, which might leave them displaced. More worrying, this brings a rise in the risk of sexual violence such as rape to this group of population and may cause a tremendous effect on the mental health of these people, such as depression, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic disorders.

  • Destruction of health care facilities

Wars lead to the breakdown of societies, cause considerable destruction, and damage infrastructure, which can be complex to health emergencies. This triggers the movement of health staff to different areas, leaving understaffed healthcare systems to cope with the growing number of fatalities caused by the conflict.

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