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Happy news in a difficult times

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For almost 300 days, we have seen Ukraine fall victim to brutal attacks every day. For thousands of women across the country, last winter brought more than just fear and escape plans. Only moments after the start of the war, they discovered that they would soon become mothers. Thousands more are women who were caught up in the conflict while preparing for motherhood.

Over the past 10 months, the number of premature births has doubled or even tripled in some places. At a time when needs are greatest, resources are significantly reduced. Hospitals need support from the west to function, and the medical staff had to acquire a new skill – the quick evacuation of patients to shelters. The effects of war, during which civilian infrastructure is attacked, including hospitals and dispensaries, will be felt for many years after the end of the conflict.

During our missions, we met thousands of women who had to give birth in unimaginably difficult conditions. Prenatal stress affects not only the acceleration of childbirth itself but also contributes to negative health consequences throughout the life of the baby and reflects on the psychophysical condition of the mother. In the future, they will require more extensive medical care, because the chances for a healthy life received at the start were incomparably smaller than those resulting from childbirth in peacetime.

We are constantly learning how to best prepare medical assistance for pregnant women and newborns and their mothers in the face of armed conflicts. Regular air alarms and the need to evacuate hospital patients to a shelter are a big call. Sometimes the problem is the lack of electricity and water in the hospital, moreover, we are dealing with low birth weight and prematurity much more often. Added to this is the stress of patients related to isolation from the family or the stay of the child’s father at the front. We must take care of women in this sensitive time in a comprehensive way – says Milena Chodola, project coordinator in Ukraine.

We use our experience, and our experts share their knowledge with the staff of neonatal wards and with patients in Ukraine. During workshops organized by the Polish Medical Mission, trainers advise pregnant women and mothers on how to breastfeed and take care of a newborn. An extremely important aspect is also discussed regarding changes in the functioning of hospitals, patients’ rights, the possibility of obtaining psychological support and medical services to which pregnant women, mothers and children are entitled under the National Health Service of Ukraine.

Together we can help women and children in the most difficult times and provide specialist medical care.

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