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Occupational morbidity in Ukraine during wartime: challenges in detection and epidemiological analysis

ISSN 2223-6775 Ukrainian journal of occupational health Vol.19, No 3, 2023

Occupational morbidity in Ukraine during wartime: challenges in detection and epidemiological analysis

Nagorna A.M.
State Institution «Kundiiev Institute of Occupational Health of National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine», Kyiv

Full article (PDF): ENG / UKR

Introduction: The detection of occupational morbidity (OM) remains a significant concern, particularly amid periods of military conflicts and major socio-economic transformations. Emphasis on organizing OM detection becomes paramount in the backdrop of substantial population displacement.

Objective: This study aims to investigate the distinctive aspects of detecting occupational morbidity during times of war within a country.

Materials and Methods: The quantification of occupational morbidity cases is based on a comprehensive statistical sampling approach using primary data encompassing all newly registered instances in Ukraine during the year 2022. This dataset includes vital information on occupation, gender, age, working conditions, circumstances, and disease etiology. Statistical processing followed established methods of sanitary statistics and descriptive epidemiological analysis.

Results: Findings reveal a 12.8% reduction in detected cases of occupational morbidity during wartime, translating to 1.0-1.6 occurrences per 10,000 workers in comparison to the pre-war period. This decrease is attributed to significant population displacement, reduction in the labor pool due to enlistment into the Armed Forces of Ukraine and territorial defense units. The pronounced reduction in cases of occupational morbidity is particularly evident in the Donetsk region (23.9% decrease) and Dnipropetrovsk region (18.9% decrease). This suggests a noticeable decline in the incidence of occupational diseases among workers engaged in enterprises located near combat zones or temporarily occupied territories that were previously hubs for extractive and processing industries (e.g., coal, metallurgy, machinery manufacturing).

Conclusions: During times of military operations in Ukraine, the identification of occupational morbidity cases experienced a 12.8% downturn, largely attributed to population displacement, enterprise closures or relocations, diminished job prospects, compromised medical services for workers, dwindling occupational pathology resources, a prevailing trend of self-preservation leading to delayed referrals to occupational specialists. The quality of preventive medical examinations suffered due to staffing challenges in medical commissions, lack of specialized experts, and deficient instrumental and laboratory resources.

Keywords: detection of occupational diseases, martial law, preventive medical.


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