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Briefing Note | Exploring access to health care services in eastern Ukraine: a protection and health perspective

The health system in the conflict-affected areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions faces several distinct patterns of disruption. Approximately 38% of households in the 20 km area along the contact line and 57% of households in the 5 km area along the ‘contact line’ reported having problems accessing healthcare.  

The cost of medicines, distance to health care facilities, and the cost of travel were the most reported difficulties. Access to the health care at the five Exit-Entry Check Points (EECPs) is also very limited, which is disturbing as the majority of people crossing the ‘contact line’ are older people. During the first four month of 2019 only, 25 persons died at the EECPs due to health complications. 

Medical assistance at the checkpoints is provided by humanitarian actors and is only available during limited hours. In case of necessary hospitalization, the nearest medical facilities are 20-40 km away from the checkpoints. Waiting time for a public ambulance is up to 30 minutes and the waiting points for an ambulance cannot provide proper medical care in case of a sudden deterioration of health, which is likely given that people are queuing outside for extended periods in extreme weather conditions, in summer and winter. 

World Health Organization
Original Publication Date: 
30 Jul 2019
Document type: