Today marks six months since the war in Ukraine began (24 February 2022).
Over six million people have fled across the borders, whilst another six million have left their homes to find refuge elsewhere in the country. 17.7 million people are estimated to need humanitarian assistance and protection.
Six months in, we reflect on how the conflict has affected daily life in Ukraine and the country’s healthcare system – told through photos taken by our team members there.
1 March 2022: Our assessment team travel to Ukraine, where they divide into two teams. The assessment teams visit damaged healthcare facilities across the country and speak with local staff, authorities, and community members to assess the needs.
‘Team North’ are visible here through a shattered window in Northern Ukraine.
March 2022: Six million people have fled their homes to escape the fighting since February. Schools and other community centres are converted into centres for IDPs (internally displaced people). Many children and families sleep on makeshift beds like this on the floor, or find refuge in basements – exacerbating health conditions like asthma. (Photo credit: Andy Kent)
“I was visiting some of the schools in Drohobych which have become temporary hostels for internally displaced people. Almost half of the schools in the city have been turned into accommodation, collection points for donations and registration hubs for the 15,000 or so newcomers.
Outside the town hall, a box of soft toys lies beside a wall of sandbags, tiny children coming up one at a time to choose something to cuddle. What will the young ones remember? I wonder.” – Doctor Freda Newlands
March 2022: The team come across a car accident along their journey and, thankfully, were able to treat the passengers at the scene.
With mass travelling across the country, road traffic accidents have been a significant security risk — particularly as team members and incredible drivers travel long distances across the country.
March 2022: Makeshift centres for IDPs (left) and a clinic for patients with Tuberculous (right).
Sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculous (TB), COVID-19, and measles were particular areas of concern when the war began as services, treatments, and vaccines are disrupted by the war. Without access to regular services and medicine, as well as the huge amounts of migration from the frontline, the country’s fight against HIV and TB has been impeded.
April 2022: The basement of a hospital in Kremenchuk, Central Ukraine, where patients and doctors have to gather when the air raid sirens go off. The city has been struck by missiles six times, including a deadly attack on a shopping centre in July which killed at least 16 people. (Photo credit: Andy Kent)
Views from out the window: Left: driving past fields in Eastern Ukraine. Over 70% of Ukraine is made up of agricultural land and the war has caused significant disruptions in supplies, both in Ukraine and worldwide. Right: Missiles hit power stations in Lviv and along crucial railways in central and western Ukraine, 4 May 2022. (Photo credit: Andy Kent)
May 2022: Missile strike in Kharkiv as the team travels to deliver training to firefighters in the north of the country. Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second biggest city and has been one of the hardest hit during the conflict — over 600,000 people are estimated to have fled the fighting. (Photo credit: Andy Kent)
June 2022: A hole in the wall of the maternity unit in an Eastern Ukrainian hospital after severe shelling. Because the attack compromised the hospital’s ability to provide critical services, we set up a surgical field unit to continue vital treatment whilst the hospital was repaired. (Photo credit: Angus Watson)
When the hospital was under attack, the staff brought patients down to this basement area. Two children were born down here. (Photo credit: left: David Anderson, right: Jonathan Moore)
July 2022: Over 400 attacks on health care facilities have been reported since February 2022. We continue to work side-by-side with health staff in the country, who are managing to maintain health services despite exhaustion and the ongoing conflict. (Photo credit: Jonathan Moore)
“Whilst working alongside the national staff, the physical and psychological scars are very much apparent. Many healthcare staff are internally displaced having fled from their homes for fear of losing their lives. They relive stories of losing loved ones and hiding in bunkers for days.” – Consultant Nurse Marc Robinson (Photo credit: Jonathan Moore)