As the war in Ukraine enters its third week, the magnitude of the devastation puts the health of all Ukrainians and the country’s healthcare system in jeopardy. In this regard, the US News has launched a special report into the lives of paramedics in Ukraine.
“It’s mind-boggling,” said James Elder, a UNICEF spokesman who arrived in Lviv, Ukraine’s western metropolis, just two days after the Russian invasion began.
Since then, a lot has happened. “A million refugee children were forced to escape the country in just 13 days. Consider the anxiety and trauma. Since Globe War II, the world hasn’t seen anything like this. “He made a point.
“But, as much as we see this massive outflow of people, it’s also essential to remember those who are at risk trapped in-country,” Elder continued. “People who are unable to move. People who are on drips at hospitals. Incubators are where babies are kept until they are ready to be born. People who have been imprisoned in bunkers. I recently visited a hospital in Lviv that had taken in 60 youngsters, some of whom had been injured in Kyiv and others who had become ill after spending days in a freezing basement.”
The direct threat to hospitals is exacerbating the problem.
According to Doctors Without Borders, intentional wartime attacks against medical professionals, hospitals, and healthcare institutions are a blatant breach of the Geneva Convention.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko revealed that 61 hospitals around the nation had been virtually “taken out of service,” whether purposefully or not, since Russia commenced its invasion. According to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, Russian bombardments destroyed 34.
On Wednesday, this number increased when a Russian aircraft damaged a maternity hospital in Mariupol, under siege. The blast killed three individuals, including a child, and injured 17 others.
These attacks put Ukrainian public health authorities on the front lines of the fight, including Shorena Basilaia in Kyiv’s capital and Linnikov Svyatoslav in Odesa’s southern port city.
Though Lviv has remained relatively unaffected by the massive bombing that has enveloped cities in the country’s eastern and southern regions, Kyiv (population 3 million) and its environs have not been so fortunate.
Despite the obvious hazards that come with providing sustained access to health care in the middle of a combat zone, Basilaia, Deputy Director of Kyiv’s City Hospital for Adults No. 27, tries to strike a can-do tone.
“It has not been damaged [by missiles] so far,” Basilica said, adding that medical supplies are still on hand at the 270-bed facility she oversees, which has been chiefly attending to COVID-19 patients of late.
“We have drugs, and there hasn’t been a scarcity so far,” she claimed, even though medical facilities in other parts of the country are in significantly worse shape. For the time being, she said, her team is “functioning and ready for all types of circumstances.”
Nonetheless, Basilaia recognized that the situation is “extremely stressful and challenging right now.”
“War has a detrimental impact on everything,” she said, including the healthcare system. Some of her employees, for example, have been unable to travel to work due to safety concerns. Those who do go to work are forced to remain on continual alert, ready to scramble at the sound of an air raid alarm — let alone the commencement of actual shelling — as they rush patients to the safety of a bunker below.
“It’s absurd,” Svyatoslav acknowledged. He is the director of the health promotion department at Odessa’s Regional Center for Public Health (RCPH), the local equivalent of the CDC.
“I am not a warrior,” he stated emphatically. “I’ve never handled a firearm. However, I feel as if I’m in a movie. ‘The War of the Worlds,’ starring Tom Cruise. Because, as you may recall, the first alien attack in that film occurred in Ukraine.”
As he’s known, Slava isn’t a Hollywood movie star, though. He’s an Odessa native who trained as a surgeon. His primary responsibility at the RCPH during the war — and before the pandemic — was to advocate and teach public health initiatives to lower the risk of infectious diseases like HIV and viral hepatitis and non-communicable diseases, including heart and heart vascular disease, strokes, and cancer.
“However, with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, I began fighting a new enemy,” he added, rapidly turning his focus to infection prevention, vaccination facilitation, and dispelling pandemic myths.
According to the World Health Organization, the 44 million-strong country has reported 5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 112,000 deaths, a fatality rate equivalent to that of Italy.
Slava stated that he and his colleagues had spent most of the last two years working on a statewide campaign “aimed at saving people’s lives from the coronavirus,” with great success: Ukraine has administered around 31.5 million vaccinations to date.
“Then the unthinkable occurred.”
On February 24, at 5 a.m., I was jolted awake by the most dreadful words: ‘Get up.’ The conflict has begun. Our cities are being bombed.'” Slava acknowledges that he and his buddies were taken aback by the “surreal” Russian invasion at first. “It became challenging to grasp what to do next in the first hours after the conflict began,” he stated.
He stated, “It is impossible to prepare yourself for battle.” “It’s not something your brain wants to believe.”
The amazement dissipated soon, though, because Russia’s assault on Ukrainian sovereignty stretches back to the invasion of Crimea in 2014.
“The first volunteer groups appeared five hours after the fighting began. We start collecting help for the first victims, hunt for volunteer ammunition, and set up warehouses for humanitarian aid, “Slava said.
The belief that public health activities cannot simply stop when bombs fall was also on everyone’s mind. Neither can ensure that chronically ill patients continue to have access to life-saving care. “Right now, war poses a hazard to physical health. Our primary goal today is to give continuous medical treatment to those who require it, “Slava remarked.
“We’re talking about diabetic patients who require daily insulin,” he clarified. “People are living with HIV, for example. It is hard for them to go a single day without drugs. As a result, doctors all around Ukraine are working hard to get the medicine.”