Moldova Struggles: Refugees Face Healthcare, Housing Woes

Approximately seven thousand Ukrainian refugees who have fled the war are now settled on the left bank of the Dniester River, according to data from the UN Human Rights Office.

These refugees cite the lower cost of living as a reason for staying in the Transnistrian region. However, they face significant challenges, including limited access to medical services, housing, and employment.

One refugee, Valentina Ivanova, expressed her difficulties: "It's unbelievable how I managed without this knowledge before. In normal circumstances, I wouldn't have even considered it." Since losing her job in Ukraine due to the war and facing her age as a barrier to new employment, Ms. Ivanova recently discovered a health problem, further complicating her situation.

The UN Human Rights Office reports that a major challenge for refugees is the lack of free medical care on the left bank. Since the introduction of temporary protection status, refugees can only access free medical services in institutions on the right bank, primarily in Chisinau. While some international organisations currently cover these costs, there are no such programs available for those residing on the left bank.

Roma refugees face even greater difficulties. In addition to limited access to medical care and housing, they often experience discrimination during their search for accommodation. Vasilisa Avtutova, a Roma refugee herself, recounted an instance where a potential host refused to accommodate a Roma family upon learning their ethnicity.

The UN Human Rights Office identifies the high cost of medical care, particularly for severe illnesses, as the most significant challenge for refugees. Unable to afford treatment, many suffer silently. The report also highlights the difficulties faced by those with disabilities, limited mobility, or elderly refugees who cannot travel regularly to Ukraine for medical care and lack access to adequate healthcare options within Moldova.

UN data indicates that 44% of Roma refugees live with relatives, while 39% rent accommodation. Only 18% were offered accommodation by private individuals, and 7% reside in placement centres.

Translation by Iurie Tataru

Rodica Mazur

Rodica Mazur


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