New free online course: Delivering quality health services to refugees and migrants from Ukraine

Since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis on 24 February 2022, millions of people have fled Ukraine, crossing borders into neighbouring countries.

Refugees and migrants from Ukraine may face challenges that hinder their access to health care in hosting and receiving countries, such as linguistic, financial and cultural barriers, discrimination and social exclusion. They have specific health needs and vulnerabilities requiring culturally sensitive care that recognizes the impact of migration and displacement on their physical and mental health.

Today, WHO published Delivering quality health services to refugees and migrants from Ukraine, the first WHO course in video format to support health workers in hosting and receiving countries to provide quality and safe care that is responsive to the circumstances and particular health needs of people from Ukraine seeking health assistance. The course is available free of charge on OpenWHO.org where it can be completed whenever and wherever needed, with options to stream or download the video for offline use.

Developed by the WHO Health and Migration Programme alongside clinicians providing health services to refugees and migrants, the 30-minute video course features six case studies that reflect the common health problems of conflict-affected populations fleeing Ukraine:

  • Case study 1: Communicable diseases: Tuberculosis management
  • Case study 2: Noncommunicable diseases: Diabetes management
  • Case study 3: Reproductive health
  • Case study 4: Mental health
  • Case study 5: Cancer and palliative care
  • Case study 6: Gender-based violence: Sexual assault

Each case study summarizes the relevant competencies and behaviours that health workers should adopt in the delivery of quality and safe care to refugees and migrants from Ukraine. The competencies and behaviours are adapted and applied from the WHO’s Refugee and migrant health: Global Competency Standards for health workers, released in December 2021, to assist health workers in providing culturally sensitive care to refugee and migrant populations.

By following this course, health workers will be able to identify and employ culturally responsive behaviours, practices, communication techniques, and strategies that are respectful of a person’s cultural, religious, and linguistic needs in the everyday provision of health services to refugees and migrants from Ukraine.

Strong health systems are sensitive to the needs of refugees and migrants, their languages, and their unique health problems. Health workers in hosting and receiving countries play a vital role in providing people-centred health services and building the resilience of health systems to respond to the health needs of these populations.

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