As the war in Ukraine enters its third year, Doctors of the World presses for continued support for the physical and mental health of the population.

Loss of loved ones, illness, displacement, uncertainty, economic hardship, and constant air raids all over the country: For two years Ukrainians have had to endure the realities of living in a country at war. And the longer it continues, the greater the risks for their physical and mental health. As the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion approaches, Doctors of the World calls on the international community to support the Ukrainian healthcare system, particularly highlighting the mental health needs of the population with its video campaign #AsLongAsItTakes.

More than half of the Ukrainian population has experienced a potentially traumatizing event and needs psychological support of varying intensity, according to 2023 data by the government and international NGOs. Near the frontline people are suffering the most while lacking access to basic resources, including health care. But in other parts of the country, a large section of the population also experiences severe levels of anxiety and hopelessness.

“There is a permanent sense of uncertainty that is extremely stressful. People don’t know when the war is going to end. They don’t know when they or a loved one will be recruited to fight at the frontline. The war deepens pre-existing systemic, community and individual problems. So, in addition to the fear of being killed by a missile, people’s everyday problems are still there. All of this can lead to severe psychosomatic symptoms, panic attacks, depression or worse,” says Doctors of the World Mental Health Coordinator Panagiotis Chondros.

At the same time, exacerbated by the armed conflict, the health care system in many places is unable to deal with the increasing health needs of the population. Doctors of the World supports the local health care system with mobile medical units, including psychologists. In addition, the organization is aiming at supporting the mental health of individuals before serious illnesses develop. For example, by training professionals, such as family doctors and social workers. They are taught to spot warning signs in their patients and clients, but also to develop better resilience themselves. Another innovative tool are so-called playback theater performances, which can be effective in helping audience members to cope with their problems and connect local communities.

“In the first session I couldn’t speak, I just cried. I have been attending individual sessions with the Doctors of the World psychologist for several months now and my emotional state has improved a lot. She taught me to see the world differently and now I have the strength to go on with my life,” says Yuliya Nikolaenko, a patient of the Doctors of the World mobile unit in the village of Shyshkivka, Chernihiv region.

Since the beginning of the full-scale war, more than 92,000 Ukrainians have received care by Doctors of the World employees. Over 17,680 received mental health and psychosocial support. In total, Doctors of the World carried out more than 131,900 consultations.

And Doctors of the World will continue to be there for the people. As long as it takes.

To do so, however, health infrastructure and personnel must be protected. Since the beginning of the war, 122 health workers have been killed and 237 injured. Moreover, 21 humanitarian workers were killed and 40 wounded, the majority of which are national workers. Doctors of the World reminds those responsible that humanitarian workers and infrastructures must not be the target of attacks, according to international humanitarian law!

  • このエントリーをはてなブックマークに追加