Press Releases
Socioeconomic inequalities in health

We still have little experience in helping with the great migration wave

The war in Ukraine has clearly shown that Czechia still lacks experience in helping war refugees on its territory. Despite the relatively successful assistance that Ukrainian refugees receive in our country, humanitarian and integration steps have not been and are not smooth, said Dagmar Dzúrová from the National Institute SYRI.

SYRI researchers analyzed subjective health characteristics among Ukrainian women, focusing primarily on female with university education. The research showed that negative health perceptions on the part of Ukrainian women are influenced by, for example, a higher number of close relatives, low ability to get help, or small household size.

In terms of financial capital, a relationship between health and material deprivation is evident. Simply put, the less money, the greater the deprivation. "This is easy to understand, but some of the other findings are surprising. The data showed us that the health of women not in paid work is better than those in paid work. This seems to be mainly related to the following facts. Some women are socio-economically well off and do not need to take any job, while many women do not go to work because they are considering returning and do not want to "invest in a new job". Last but not least, it is also a problem to find a suitable job according to, for example, educational qualifications, and this is doubly true for those with university qualifications. If migrants are offered employment on the labour market, it is mostly manual work that does not require higher qualifications," Dzúrová said.

Researchers have so far focused on labour migration and family migration, which have a long tradition among Ukrainians. "Focusing research on war refugees from Ukraine builds on these findings, although it is a completely different research challenge. Labor migration is premeditated, planned, and targeted to expand economic capital, but refugee migration is spontaneous, unprepared, and targeted to protect one's life from war aggression," Dzúrová said.

Ukrainian refugees experience stressful situations as a result of war, migration and displacement. In addition to physical and mental health, social health is also important for refugees as they are often separated from family members and friends. The researchers sought to assess the impact of economic situation and social support on subjective perceptions of health. The results showed that humanitarian and integration efforts are still not seamless and further evaluation of the situation is therefore necessary.

In the first year of the war in Ukraine, Czechia received almost half a million Ukrainian refugees. Most of them in the first months after the outbreak of the conflict. Their distribution within Czechia was very regionally differentiated, with refugees heading mainly to large cities. While for some regions this was a great organisational and financial burden, in other regions some of the capacities offered remained unused.