Ukrainian migrants face hurdles in accessing primary care, say health experts

·1 min read

Migrant health experts are warning that the swift influx of Ukrainians fleeing to Canada could put some at risk of falling through cracks in primary care.

A new analysis published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal today suggests that Canada's special visa program for Ukrainians escaping war may help streamline the immigration process, but could also create gaps in access to medical care.

Lead author Dr. Christina Greenaway says while Ukrainian newcomers receive health-care coverage, they aren't eligible for standard assistance from refugee settlement agencies because they are classified as "temporary residents."

The infectious disease physician at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital says these settlement agencies help migrants connect with medical and psychological services that play an important role in ensuring smooth integration into Canada.

Greenaway says Canada needs to strengthen its systems to provide equitable health coverage to people affected by mass migrations, such as improving access to interpreters that would allow doctors to better communicate with newly arrived patients.

According to the federal government, 55,488 Ukrainians arrived in Canada between Jan. 1 and June 26.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 11, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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