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Inside the Ukraine war: health and humanity
  1. Wireko Andrew Awuah1,
  2. Aashna Mehta2,
  3. Jacob Kalmanovich3,
  4. Rohan Yarlagadda4,
  5. Matthew Nasato5,
  6. Mrinmoy Kundu6,
  7. Toufik Abdul-Rahman1,
  8. Anastasia Deborah Fosuah1,
  9. Vladyslav Sikora1
  1. 1 Medical Institute, Sumy State University, Sumy, Ukraine
  2. 2 University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary
  3. 3 Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  4. 4 Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Stratford, New Jersey, USA
  5. 5 St George's University True Blue Campus, St George's, Grenada
  6. 6 Siksha O Anusandhan University Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India
  1. Correspondence to Wireko Andrew Awuah, Sumy State University, Sumy, Ukraine; andyvans36{at}

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine is one of the most devastating crises in recent history. Data from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights shows that the war led to the displacement of over four million Ukrainian citizens as of 30 March, along with at least 3167 civilian casualties, including 1232 deaths.1 The material damages sustained by Ukraine cannot be immediately replaced, but the most affecting and irreparable loss has been that of life.

The war has ushered in an era of challenges for Ukrainian residents; chief among them will be the limited access to healthcare. Nearly 1000 health facilities are located near conflict zones, with 82 confirmed attacks on these facilities.2 The impact of the war on Ukrainian health can be studied most directly through the report of physical injuries, casualties and deaths resulting from the violence, but it will be tantamount to consider the mental health impacts of these events as well. Previous studies have highlighted the immense physical and mental health burden introduced by armed conflicts. Furthermore, deteriorating living conditions and damaged critical infrastructure could leave 1.4 million people in Ukraine without adequate access to safe water and sanitation. This has the potential to create a breeding ground for future disease outbreaks.

Many Ukrainian residents were turned into refugees, which may lead to poor living conditions and overcrowding, increasing the risk of infectious outbreaks.1 The troubles of armed conflicts are made worse in the context of a continuing global pandemic as there is an increasing risk of a COVID-19 surge in local communities and neighbouring countries resulting from the disruption to health and safety practices. Perhaps when assessing the devastations of the war, we must also evaluate the public health consequences that lie ahead.

The Ukrainian crisis has appropriately garnered global attention. Several …

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  • Contributors WAA, AT, and VS conxeptualized the topic and cordinated reading. AM contributed to reading, writing, editing the original draft and critical revision. JK, RY, MN, MK, DFA contributed to various aspects of reading, data collection, writing the original draft and implementing changes for critical revision. All authors approved the final draft.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.