WHO – Emergency in Ukraine: external situation report #3, published 17 March 2022: reporting period: 11–16 March 2022
The overall situation continues to deteriorate across Ukraine. To date, over 18 million people have been affected by the conflict. According to the latest government data compiled by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over three million refugees have now left Ukraine for surrounding countries, with over 60% of them in Poland. It is estimated that this number could rise to four million by July 2022.
2.2.2 Priority public health concerns
iv. Risk of emergence and spread of infectious diseases
A total of 35 396 new cases of COVID-19 and 556 new deaths were reported in Ukraine from 10 to 16 March. However, the seven-day average number of polymerase chain reaction tests decreased from 42 460 to 3913 from 23 February to 14 March, and the seven-day average number of antigen rapid diagnostic tests dropped from 51 484 to 3038. Therefore, the number of COVID-19 cases is likely to be underreported.
Poor ventilation and overcrowding increase the risk of spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19. Lack of access to safe water and sanitation heightens the risk of the emergence of water-borne diseases. Of note, an outbreak of cholera was identified in Ukraine in 2011 in the Mariupol region, an area currently experiencing an escalation in conflict. A single case of cholera was also detected in the Zaporizhzhia oblast in 2016, highlighting the possibility of cholera cases occurring in parts of the country.
Suboptimal vaccination coverage of routine and childhood immunizations, including measles and poliomyelitis (polio), increases the risk of re-emergence and transmission of vaccine-preventable diseases.
With the arrival of spring and rising temperatures, disrupted access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene, and damage to homes may increase the risk of vector-borne diseases such as West Nile fever and tick-borne encephalitis.
Lack of access to barrier contraception and..increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence increases the risk of sexually transmitted infections …