S4 E50.10 – Wrapping Up 2023 – An Interview with Ukraine Public Health Executive Tetiana Deshko

S4 E50.10 - Wrapping Up 2023 - An Interview with Ukraine Public Health Executive Tetiana Deshko
Surfing the MASH Tsunami continues its 2023 wrap-up conversations with Ukraine Public Health Executive Tatiana Deshko, Mike Betel of the Fatty Liver Alliance and co-host Roger Green.

The conversation focuses on how the last six months of the Ukraine war have affected public health challenges and citizen morale and how continuing foreign aid from the US and Europe affects that morale.

This conversation focuses on how the last six months of war have affected citizen morale and, concurrently, an evolving and increasingly challenging healthcare landscape. The conflict continues unabated, causing substantial loss of life, disrupting daily routines, and imposing severe strains on the healthcare system. Despite the hardships, Tetiana explains, the Ukrainian people remain steadfast in their commitment to freedom and democracy, even as they face exhaustion and depleted resources.

The healthcare crisis that Tetiana outlined in Season 4 Episode 28 has escalated due to the rising number of wounded and, concurrently, an acute shortage of human resources to address the expanding health needs. The number of available healthcare professionals keeps diminishing as many have been called to military service.
To counter these challenges, Ukraine has pivoted towards innovative solutions, including telemedicine and artificial intelligence. These technologies play a crucial role in offering health advice, particularly for chronic conditions such as HIV, hepatitis, and tuberculosis. They help by simplifying patient pathways, expediting diagnostic processes, and ensuring timely treatments in a resource-constrained environment. But while international support for telehealth initiatives is significant, \ language barriers remain a substantial challenge to effective care delivery.

The ongoing conflict complicates the ability to address non-urgent health issues like metabolic diseases. The war has also led to a surge in stress-related diseases, mental health issues, and suicides, especially among the youth in urban areas. All this leads to declining health attention and general health among Ukrainians.
This conversation underscores the dire situation in Ukraine, where the healthcare system struggles constantly to adapt to the demands of war. There’s a pressing need for mental health support and an increase in stress-related illnesses. Telemedicine has become a critical tool for connecting displaced patients with healthcare providers. However, language barriers and the vast healthcare needs present formidable obstacles.

These war-related challenges to Ukraine’s healthcare system are profound. The dedication and resilience of healthcare professionals like Tetiana are pivotal, but the entire system also relies on vital support from the international community. International support is particularly key in certain inventive healthcare delivery solutions, including implementation of mobile clinics and efforts to establish prosthetic centers. These challenges are particularly acute in occupied territories, which lack healthcare infrastructure. Additionally, new warfare tactics like the use of mines and tear gas have introduced further complications, increasing the need for specialized care and support, including for blinded veterans.

Despite these difficulties, there is an enduring spirit of resilience and resourcefulness. The Ukrainian people and healthcare professionals keep adapting to these unprecedented challenges, showing remarkable ingenuity in finding solutions. While the road ahead is fraught with complex obstacles, there is hope that the current turmoil will lead to development of a more robust and resilient healthcare system in Ukraine. The continued commitment to a free and democratic Ukraine, boosted by innovative healthcare strategies and backed by international support, underscores the nation’s determination to overcome these adversities.