“Nowhere is absolutely safe” – An update one month into the Ukraine crisis

UK-Med’s Health Referent and NHS nurse David Anderson shares an update from on the ground in Ukraine:

“It’s now been over a month since the crisis in Ukraine escalated and since UK-Med first arrived on the ground to provide urgent health care and support here.

I’m part of UK-Med’s team in the east of the country, where we’ve been providing training, support and assessments for the healthcare staff and organisations who remain here.

The main problem is that nowhere is absolutely safe. Sirens go off frequently to warn of a risk identified in the area.

It’s not even necessarily the fact that somewhere has been bombed, it’s living with that constant fear that you just don’t know what’s going to happen and where the next strike may be.

“If you’ve not got your anti-hypertensive drugs with you, your chance of a stroke is really high.”

This week, my colleague Paul and I have been providing training and support for doctors, nurses and paramedics from across eight ambulance stations. We’ve been hearing some of the difficult cases staff here have dealt with in recent weeks, and helped prepare them for challenging cases to come.

The movement of people around the country is putting pressure and strain on different parts of the healthcare system. This is growing by the hour, as more people living in the east of the country were urged to leave this week. The impact on the western cities has been overwhelming.

A school that has been converted into a shelter for people who have fled their homes in Ukraine. It's in schools like these that UK-Med has set up one of their health clinics to treat internally displaced people.

In Western Ukraine, UK-Med is running health clinics where we have direct care available for the thousands of children, women and men – especially the elderly – who have found refuge here.

People’s primary healthcare needs have been the main focus here. If you’ve not got your anti-hypertensive drugs with you, your chance of a stroke is really high. We’ve been making sure people’s basic healthcare needs are covered, as well as dealing with minor illnesses and injuries.

Living with this constant fear is very difficult for the people of Ukraine. We’re seeing the psychological toll on patients and local staff – and this is something which we’re looking at to help with too. The health needs here are immense and constantly changing.”

To support the work of David, Paul, and everyone else working within UK-Med, please donate to our Ukraine Appeal.

Donate today to get urgent medical support where it’s needed, fast.

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