Update Clinical review
The analysis of the challenges brought about by the war in Ukraine for pediatric healthcare
Katarzyna Anna Dylag1, Klaudia Wijata2
11Jagiellonian University Medical College, Department of Patophysiology Czysta 18, 31- 121 Krakow 2St. Louis Children Hospital Strzelecka 2, 31-503 Krakow
Introduction: The Russian invasion to Ukraine, which started on February 24, 2022, has created the biggest refugee crisis within Europe since the Second World War. The purpose of this study was to mark the potential challenges to be faced on the basis of the 1,5-month experience of working with Ukrainian refugees in the public hospital in Krakow, one of the cities that received the highest number of refugees during the conflict. Materials and Methods: A retrospective analysis of the records of refugees admitted to the emergency department of St. Louis Children’s Hospital, a public hospital located 600 meters from the Krakow main train station between February 24 and March 31, 2022. Results: During the first 5 weeks of war we admitted 237 children (130 females, 107 males) in the mean age of 55 months [0.3; 218]. 33% of the patients present in the emergency department with respiratory tract complaints (mainly upper respiratory tract infections or pneumonia), 46% with gastrointestinal tract complaints (mainly diarrhea), 1% with neurological system complaints (epilepsy), 1% with allergies (acute urticaria), 5% had fever of unknown origin, 19% had other causes of admission. Chronic diseases with which the patients were admitted were mitochondrial myopathy, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, type 1 diabetes, mucopolysaccharidosis, arrythmia, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Gaucher’s disease, asthma, severe atopic dermatitis, status after heart transplant or osteogenesis imperfecta. 8% of patients have not been vaccinated by parental choice. Conclusions: Although in the first weeks of war, children who fled Ukraine appeared mainly with acute illnesses, as the conflict continues, pediatricians in Europe will have to accept the challenge of continuing care for chronically ill patients with Ukraine, as well as prepare to face an unexpected number of traumatized patients. Several vulnerabilities in the field of infectious diseases among Ukrainian refugees should also be noted.