Emergency Medicine Doctor Freda Newlands from Dumfries and Galloway travelled to Poland just over a week ago to join UK-Med’s assessment team in western Ukraine.
Taking time out from hospital assessments and gathering information about the healthcare situation on the ground, Freda updates us with her experiences so far.
“Just over three weeks ago, in Ukraine and UK, we were going about our usual business. Now, Ukraine has been utterly devastated by war. It’s a close neighbour and we are here to help.
I left Scotland eight days ago, travelling through western Poland to Ukraine as part of a small team from UK-Med. Our initial remit is to make assessments of the medical need in areas where internally displaced people (IDPs) have arrived.
Predominantly woman and children, these thousands of internally displaced people have fled from their homes further East – leaving their fathers, husbands and sons to fight for their beloved Ukraine.
We have seen these woman protecting their children – sheltering them and feeding them within schools and shelters provided for their protection. Everyone is so grateful for our being here. One young man whom I met in a shop in Rzeszow close to the Polish border, put his hand on his heart to thank us for our help, he started to cry. It was deeply moving and made me feel desperately helpless.
We feel far from the war in the west of Ukraine but the impact on these western cities is overwhelming. Flooded with people escaping to find peace and security.
The healthcare situation on the ground
The health needs begin to be apparent. Trauma and surgical requirements are clearly at the site of the conflict in the east, and the Ukrainian health service is very advanced and well served by experienced personnel.
It is clear that women and children need medical support – and this is where UK-Med hope to help.
Imagine overcrowded dormitories, poor sanitation, no hygiene facilities and lack of laundry facilities. This is the perfect recipe for the potential spread of infection, so we hope to be able to provide primary care for them.
There will be a need for the treatment of children with the usual childhood infections, ante-natal care, monitoring of chronic diseases and treatment of acute illness UK-Med has the skilled experienced clinicians to deliver this care. We hope to start doing this very soon.”
The difference your help is making
We have been overwhelmed with the kindness of our supportive community – in Manchester, from the UK, and around the world. These donations are making a difference right now: enabling us to be on the ground, working to provide medical and healthcare to where it’s most needed.
As the situation evolves, our response is evolving too. We’ll keep you continually updated with news from the ground and urge you to please keep supporting and sharing the appeal that makes it possible.
The situation is rapidly unfolding. If you are able to, please support us with a gift today and help our teams provide emergency health support.
Feature image: Dr Freda Newlands visits a shelter for internally displaced people South of Lviv, Western Ukraine.
“Imagine overcrowded dormitories, poor sanitation, no hygiene facilities and lack of laundry facilities.”
– Freda, Emergency Medicine Doctor