Health Rights of Ukranian Refugees 

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Anthony Collins, a fourth year Medical Student from UWI Mona in Kingston, Jamaica. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

The escalation of the international armed conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance. Millions of refugees from Ukraine have crossed borders into neighbouring countries and many more have been forced to move inside the country. They are in need of protection and support.

In light of the emergency and the scale of humanitarian needs, an inter-agency regional refugee response is being carried out, in support of the efforts of refugee-hosting countries. Part of the response includes facilitating their right to health. Health is a state of physical, emotional and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. This means that multiple factors account for health, which often are deranged in situations like the one refugees are in now.

The right to health includes freedom (from non consensual treatment, experimentation and torture), entitlements (access to essential medicines, prevention and treatment of diseases), non discrimination and accessible, available and good quality healthcare services. All of these are part of their basic human rights as they are entitled to fair treatment regardless of their circumstances.

Refugees often end up tortured or receiving healthcare not according to any proper guidelines as first preference goes towards people of the receiving country. This goes against their right to freedom and other entitlements. As stated above those include preventative and curative services.  Many institutions may refuse to treat to the full extent however this should not be the case as proper management should always be the case regardless of race or any other parameters.

Non discrimination is a necessity as mentioned previously social factors often determined the quality of treatment refugees. It also influences the accessibility, availability and quality of services is little to non existent for a variety of reasons. Some fear being deported as their info is recorded and used against them amongst other adverse reactions. 

In summary, refugees have rights, health most importantly even if they are displaced and living in foreign territory. Though their current situation is unfortunate, the potential for some semblance of normal life to resume is high and it all starts with the basics. 


Situation Ukraine Refugee Situation (

About the author

Anthony Collins is a fourth year Medical Student from UWI Mona in Kingston, Jamaica. He’s very passionate about research, forensics and pathology and therefore spends his time gaining experience in those areas. He also volunteers to help those in need and the environment. He serves as the Vice President of External Affairs of JAMSA Jamaica (a member of IFMSA), secretary for the Rotaract Club of UWI Mona and Assistant Treasurer for UWI One Life where he gains further personal and professional development as a student leader serving his fellow students.

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