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Six months for Ukraine

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How much time does it take to help? In the event of a sudden crisis, which was the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, we needed a few hours – during that time, we created an action plan for the next weeks, divided tasks in the team and started intensive work to save as many people as possible. Learn more about our most important initiatives from the last six months.

Helping hospitals and donating vaccines

Our immediate decision was to focus on Ukraine and take care of the functioning of hospitals in the country. Already on the first day of the war, we started the procedures related to sending convoys with humanitarian aid to the East. The first shipment left four days later – since then, we have been regularly delivering supplies to over 50 hospitals across the country. In a short time, the lists of needs shifted from several dozen to several thousand items – starting from the simplest, such as cotton wool and bandages, to more advanced and necessary ones to save the lives of war victims.

Radio 357 helped us to raise funds, and on March 4 an exceptional auction took place, the payments from which were fully used for the purchase of medical supplies. We have also started a project with the EEA and Norway Grants, under which we deliver drugs, surgical instruments, and highly specialized medical equipment to 50 hospitals. As part of the project, the equipment needed to conduct phototherapy in newborns will be delivered to 7 hospitals.

Soon EIT Health joined our activities, providing us with 15,000 Clodivac vaccines against tetanus and diphtheria. Obtaining permission to transport shipments containing drugs and vaccines across the border and creating a supply chain that guaranteed their safety at every stage of the journey, was another milestone. Using the network of Robano warehouses, we started to expand the purchased products with pharmacological agents.

In cooperation with Polish and Ukrainian neonatologists, we have created a support program for neonatal hospitals. We have provided specialist assistance to 26 institutions that deal with saving newborns’ lives by sending ward equipment and baby food.

Border assistance points and ambulances

We soon knew that the border situation, crossed by thousands of refugees every day, was difficult to control. The long lines on the Ukrainian side put people at risk of losing their health. People who were chronically ill, injured, children, and the elderly reached us in cars, buses, and on foot. The short section to their safe border was another dramatic stop on their escape route.

Together with the International Medical Corps, we established first aid points in Dorohusk, Budomierz, and Korczowa, to which refugees waiting at the border crossing could be directed. Additionally, in order to reach those in need, the team regularly visited reception centers in Ukraine with medical appointments, monitoring the health of hundreds of residents who had not decided to leave the country, although they could not stay in their own homes. Overcrowded buildings, in which one room was shared by entire families, generated a real threat in the event of an infectious disease. Doctors were provided with the most necessary medications, and their work was supported by an ambulance with a team of rescuers, which allowed them to immediately transport patients to hospitals in Poland.

I was very happy to work with the team here at Polish Medical Mission and paramedics from Krakow to send 5 equipped ambulances to Ukraine,. Right now they are operating across the country, from the front lines in the East, to hospitals in the West that are struggling to cope with a huge influx of IDP’s. Rowan Joffe Mclachlan

It was one of the five fully equipped ambulances that we have handed over to the Ukrainian side with Nissan Iberica in recent months. Ambulances also went to hospitals in Drohobych, Kiev, Ivano-Frankivsk and Kramatorsk. Providing tools for work is part of long-term assistance so that doctors and paramedics can continue to help the people of the country.

Child Friendly Spaces

One of our main goals is to provide the help that produces long-lasting results and improves the quality of life for the entire community. Thanks to the Child-Friendly Spaces organized in 9 cities in Poland, we reach both refugees and host families, helping them to integrate by organizing additional activities for children and adults. It is much more than basic psychological support and legal assistance – it is also a chance to get to know each other and feel safe in your presence. Employees at each location are able to reach at least 400 people and provide 30 to 50 hours of language classes, integration workshops, day trips, daycare, therapy, and more per week.

We realize that a sudden decision to move is hectic and difficult in terms of language differences, housing crisis, and other regulations. We can’t change a loving husband, that’s not possible. But we can make sure that organized and systemic help releases at least a bit of stress. We would like as many people as possible to have a place to go when they need support ”- Agnieszka Piasecka, Protection Program Coordinator

In order to expand the program of activities and reach as many people in need as possible, especially in small municipalities with a large group of refugees, we engaged our trusted partners. Terre Des Hommes Italy has supported us with many years of experience in the area of helping children. The Norwegian Funds and EOG provided additional funds, thanks to which both children and adults can take advantage of additional activities. We want everyone to feel part of a community where everyone is equally important and valuable.

Field hospital

The purchase and launch of a field hospital are one of the most engaging initiatives in the history of Polish Medical Mission and a huge challenge in the context of an ever-changing conflict. Seeing how the scale of needs is growing every day, how many people have been left homeless, and hearing information about attacks on medical facilities, we decided that it was not enough to help hospitals on the spot. It is necessary to create a completely new facility that will replace the damaged places and provide additional space for patients.

Together with Terre Des Hommes and the Ziko Foundation for Health, we launched a campaign to purchase a fully equipped field hospital. Within a dozen or so weeks, the ready tents were already in Italy and waiting for transport to Poland, and then to Ukraine. However, reality thwarted the plans – the place where the hospital was to be built was attacked. Agreements with local authorities had to be suspended for the safety of patients and staff. We are currently waiting for the consent of the Ukrainian side to start operations in another part of the Mykolaiv Oblast. Despite the difficulties, we are still striving to start the operation of the field hospital and we are ready to work for the most in need.

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