17 January 2023
UNICEF Emergency Response Office in Slovakia
Context Although Slovakia grants “urgent and necessary health services” for Ukrainian citizens registered for Temporary Protection, many Ukrainians face challenges in accessing support. What is “urgent and necessary," however, is often left to the judgment of individual doctors, creating a situation in which quality of health care received by refugees can vary significantly. Ukrainian children tend to have significantly lower vaccination rates compared to Slovaks and front-line health workers are not trained to deal with vaccine hesitancy. The key challenge in the mid-long term is the management of chronic diseases, control and management of infectious and communicable disease, and provision of specialized mental health services and psychological support. In addition, there is a shortage of doctors, particularly pediatricians and nurses, with some regions being underserved even before the crisis. Under the existing legislation, Ukrainian health workers can provide services only under the direct supervision of a senior Slovak health worker, due to the shorter academic curriculum and mandated training required for doctors in Ukraine. UNI396419 UNI396419 UNI396419 UNI396419 UNICEF’s Response Support to recognition of qualifications of Ukrainian health workers is one of four areas of cooperation between UNICEF and the Ministry of Health, in addition to immunization and early childhood development, specialized mental health support, as well as health promotion and health education, including through parenting programmes. In collaboration with the Regional Health Authority in Bratislava, UNICEF supports the provision of primary healthcare services in the Bratislava region, hosting over 30,000 refugees, including more than 12,000 children. Services are provided by two general practitioners, two pediatricians, one gynecologist, and one psychiatrist under the supervision of a senior Slovak doctor. Pediatricians and breastfeeding counselors are integrated into the Blue Dots in Bratislava, Košice and Michalovce. UNI396390 UNI396390 UNI396390 UNI396390 Since 15 July 2022, primary healthcare services have been provided to over 43,000 children and women through UNICEF-supported mechanisms, including consultations for mental health, referrals to higher levels of care, and vaccination of children against measles, polio, and so on.