Is it possible to conduct the healthcare market research during the war in Ukraine?

Before the war, the significant share of international research conducted in Ukraine was related to the healthcare sector. After all, the Ukrainian market of medical services is integrated into the global healthcare network.

Marketers analyzed brand positions, the perception of advertising messages, tested concepts and worked on improving the image of medical institutions.

The war destroyed everything: human destinies, homes, businesses, medical institutions, and, of course, strategic marketing plans.

However, despite the devastating consequences of military aggression, the Ukrainian healthcare system continues to work and provide the full cycle of services almost throughout the country.

We decided to conduct an overview of the situation in the healthcare field in Ukraine in order to understand how the medical industry works in war conditions and what processes should be taken into account when planning marketing research.

1. Focus on the of people needs, not on eliminating the consequences of damage

As of June 15, 2022, 705 healthcare facilities were damaged in Ukraine, of which 115 facilities were completely destroyed.

According to WHO data (which is constantly updated), since February 24, 2022, 323 health attacks have been confirmed in Ukraine — which is more attacks in 4 months than in Syria since the beginning of 2018 (298 attacks).

A difficult situation requires an appropriate response. Currently, the emphasis is on restoring the network of primary health care facilities. Processes are actively taking place in the de-occupied regions of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy.

At the same time, it is important to understand that the policy of the Ministry of Health is not aimed at restoring medical institutions, but at restoring services for the population and creating jobs for medical workers.

Representatives of the Ministry of Health emphasize that the goal of the post-war reconstruction of the health care sector is not only to restore buildings, but to invent optimal ways of providing the necessary services to the population.

This approach shows that the provision of medical services to the population is stabilizing, despite the mixing of the number of medical institutions.

2. The Medical guarantee program and the Affordable Medicines Program continue to work in Ukraine

Currently, patients can count on medical assistance in any region of Ukraine to receive all services available in the Program: treatment of heart attack, stroke, and other serious diseases.

Internally displaced persons can apply for medical assistance at their place of stay and without an existing declaration.

Since the number of medical services provided to patients is increasing, the payment system for medical workers has been returned to Ukraine.

The other day, the Government adopted a resolution, which provides that from July 1, 2022, in regions where there are currently no active hostilities, the payment system for medical services actually provided will be returned.

The changes will allow more efficient use of budget funds and increase the financial capacity of health care institutions.

Efficiency can also be achieved by moving from large numbers of single-specialty hospitals to multi-specialty facilities.

3. The processes of reforming the healthcare system have not stopped

In the last two years, medical facilities have been actively purchasing new equipment and improving the conditions of stay for patients. Even under conditions of war, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution guaranteeing the financing of capital expenditures for medical equipment and oxygen.

Government programs for the purchase of heavy equipment continue to operate. Of course, facilities that are located in a war zone cannot implement their plans, but where possible, angiograms, CT, MRI, mammograms, etc. are still being installed.

In addition, in Ukraine, the infrastructural stage of the medical reform begins with the division of hospitals into hospital clusters.

According to the new approach, the hospital network in the region, united into one hospital district, will be further divided into hospital clusters, taking into account the boundaries of administrative-territorial units, geographical features of the region, the state of highways, current and projected population demographics, morbidity and mortality patterns, and optimal patient clinical pathways for timely access to medical and rehabilitation care.

4. Medical staff who have changed their place of residence have been offered employment

According to the Ministry of Health, 3,073 internally displaced medical personal have already taken advantage of the opportunity to find employment in another medical institution.

Among them are 1,636 doctors, 991 specialists (nurses, midwives, paramedics, assistant pharmacists), 446 technical workers.

The largest number of employed doctors are registered in Dnipro – 440, Lviv – 308 and Poltava – 303 regions.

This factor is important to take into account when calculating the sample for quantitative research among medical staff.

5. The pharmaceutical industry is recovering, overwhelming majority of pharmacies are operating

If in the first days of the war, according to the State Service of Ukraine for Medicines and Drug Control, about 10% of pharmacies operated, then a month after the start of the war, 80% of pharmacies were operating.

In the future, the number of open pharmacies continued to grow. Gradually, the networks resumed online ordering, which helped to reduce the queues and allow people to buy the necessary medicines under comfortable conditions.

It is also important to take into account the factor influencing the pharmaceutical and medical markets of Ukraine – the volume of humanitarian aid.

The website of the Ministry of Health has an interactive dashboard that informs about the received and distributed humanitarian aid. For example, as of June 7, more than 108 million units of medicine have been distributed.

Since the beginning of the war, the pharmaceutical company Sanofi has donated 30 million doses of medicines for daily treatment to Ukraine as humanitarian aid. The total amount of charitable assistance with the company’s drugs exceeds 21 million euros.

The department publishes information on the existing needs for medicines, medical devices, consumables, which healthcare institutions need in the first place.

Of course, during the war, the Ukrainian healthcare sector is forced to work with increased risks, every minute solving the issues of the safety of people and assets, access to raw materials, logistics and, of course, the reduction in market share related to the occupation and the migration of the population.

However, the healthcare system continues to work, trying to maintain human resources and a decent level of public health.