Public Health Fakes: Female doctors workers will be mobilized, and their children will be sent to families abroad. Issue #120

Public Health Fakes: Female doctors workers will be mobilized, and their children will be sent to families abroad. Issue #120

Photo: unsplash.com / Mathurin NAPOLY / matnapo
9 May 2024
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Russian Telegram channels are once again discrediting the mobilization in Ukraine. This time, the authors of fakes mentioned the obligation for women with medical education to register for military records and claimed that they would be sent to the front and their children to families in the West. Additionally, the Russians fabricated a story that the Kharkiv Territorial Center for Recruitment and Social Support published on its website an announcement requiring female medical university graduates to register for military service. This caused panic among women, as the Russian fabrication suggested that they were being prepared for deployment to the front lines.

With the support of the USAID Health Reform Support project, VoxCheck analyzes and refutes public health narratives spread in the information space of Ukraine, Belarus, and russia on a weekly basis.

Disinformation: Female doctors workers will be mobilized, and their children will be sent to families abroad

Information is being spread online claiming that women with medical and pharmaceutical education in Ukraine have been urgently required to update their information at the Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center. The authors of these posts assert that soon women will be caught and sent to the front, while their children will be sent to families in Western countries.

What’s the reality?

Women who work in medical professions (doctor, dentist, midwife, nurse, pharmacist, and pharmaceutical specialist, scientific researcher, head of health care units, etc.) or have pharmaceutical or medical education have been required to register according to the norms law adopted in 1992. However, not all pharmacists and medical workers have complied with this regulation. As a result of changes in the legislation adopted in 2022, women with medical and pharmaceutical education must register for military service by December 31, 2026. If they ignore this requirement, they will not be able to work in their profession. The Ministry of Health of Ukraine stated that this is necessary to consolidate data on the medical reserve in Ukraine.

Under the new law on strengthening mobilization, which will come into effect on May 18, women with the aforementioned specialties who are already registered for military service, like conscripted men, must report to the Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center within 60 days of the law’s enactment, that is, by July 18, 2024. This is necessary to update the data of those liable for military service. The new law does not change the deadline by which women with pharmaceutical or medical education must register, so the requirement to come to the Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center by the end of 2026 remains in effect.

At the same time, as explained by Roman Istomin, head of the public relations service of the Poltava Regional Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center, if all the necessary personal data of a conscript (passport data, current place of work, health information, etc.) are present and up-to-date in the Unified State Register of Conscripts, then there is no need to update them at the Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center. This law does not significantly change the rules regarding the registration of women for military service. The requirement to register has existed previously; now, female medical and pharmaceutical professionals who are already registered need to update their information if anything has changed.

Source: colonel Yurii Hlushchenko, Law on Strengthening Mobilization

Roman Istomin also added that updating military registration data is a duty for conscripts. If a person receives a summons to update their data and fails to do so, non-compliance with the law is an administrative offense. The data of this person is then transferred to the police after which a person may face a fine.

Moreover, the information suggesting that women will be sent to the front and their children will be placed in other families abroad does not correspond to reality. The law on strengthening mobilization has added a provision stating that women can only be called up to the army voluntarily; therefore, forcibly mobilizing them is prohibited. Cases of forced mobilization of women were not recorded before the adoption of the relevant law. Furthermore, women and men are not subject to mobilization if:

  • they have three or more children under the age of 18;
  • they have a child (children) under the age of 18, and the other parent of such child/children is deceased, deprived of parental rights, declared missing, serving a sentence in places of detention, or declared dead, as well as when a person independently raises and supports a child by a court decision;
  • they are guardians, custodians, foster parents, caregiver parents, raising a child with disabilities under the age of 18;
  • they have a minor child/children and a husband/wife who is in military service.

Therefore, the situation where a child is left without care because both parents have been mobilized is impossible.

Disinformation: In Kharkiv, graduates of medical universities will be mobilized

Russians continue to discredit mobilization in Ukraine and target some fake news towards the population of the frontline regions. This time, propagandists claim that the Kharkiv Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center published an announcement on their website. It allegedly states that the local authorities demand graduates of the National Pharmaceutical Academy and the National Medical University to register for military service. As a result, among the graduates, there are supposedly panic moods because they are presumably planned to be sent to the medical units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine against the backdrop of “catastrophic” losses.

What’s the reality?

This is another Russian fabrication, supported solely by fake “evidence.” Neither the Kharkiv Regional Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center nor the district Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Centers have websites. Although the Russians claim that the announcement was posted on the website, the Kharkiv Regional Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center only has a Facebook page.

Furthermore, the Russians do not provide any photos of the announcement they write about. There are also no photos of orders from the Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center demanding graduates of medical universities to register with the authorities in open sources. Moreover, the fake mentions the wrong name of the institution: the National Pharmaceutical University is not an academy.

We also reached out to the Kharkiv Regional Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center regarding the announcement mentioned by the Russians. The military enlistment office replied that there are no such announcements on their official page, indicating that the information from the Russians is fake.

Reply  from Kharkiv Regional Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center

No announcements regarding the military registration of graduates are mentioned on the National Pharmaceutical University’s website and social media pages. Similarly, such directives have not been published on the pages of the Kharkiv National Medical University.

As mentioned earlier, the military registration of women with medical and pharmaceutical education is not a new requirement. Furthermore, women who pursue such education are registered during their university studies. Specifically, two months before completing their studies, the higher education institution submits lists of graduates to the Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center, after which women are required to formalize their military registration documents at the Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center.

This information piece was produced with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provided on behalf of the people of the United States of America. This article’s content, which does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, is the sole responsibility of Deloitte Consulting under contract #72012118C00001.

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