Médecins Sans Frontières expanding support to hospitals in eastern Ukraine

12 June 2014 - In response to ongoing violence in eastern Ukraine, international medical humanitarian organisation  Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is expanding its support to over-stretched hospitals in the area. In the past two weeks, MSF has provided urgently needed medical supplies to 15 hospitals in the east of the country, most recently in Slavyansk, Luhansk, Kramatorsk, Dimitrov, Artemovsk and Krasnoarmeysk. All donations of materials, now totaling approximately four tonnes, have been made based on the needs identified by the chief medical staff of these hospitals.

“MSF is continuing to scale up its support to medical facilities, which are coming under increasing pressure as the number of wounded continues to grow,” said Stéphane Prévost, Head of Mission for MSF in Ukraine. “Our priority is to identify specific gaps or needs, such as a shortage of drugs or surgical supplies, and provide timely support when needed.

As part of MSF’s emergency preparedness plan, the organisation had pre-positioned emergency medical kits in a number of locations in eastern Ukraine so that prompt donations could be made in the event of growing violence. With these pre-positioned supplies exhausted, MSF has assembled an additional nine kits and distributed them to hospitals according to the needs. Each kit contains supplies for treating up to 150 wounded people and includes wound dressings, bandages, syringes, antibiotics and stretchers.

“Our team is in regular contact with a network of medical staff at the main hospitals throughout the area and is ready to provide additional support if needed,” said Stéphane Prévost. “As an independent and neutral humanitarian organisation, MSF does not take sides in any conflict. In Ukraine, our teams are focused solely on responding to medical humanitarian needs.”

MSF is reinforcing its emergency team and will assess the needs in health structures in areas affected by ongoing fighting. A specialised team is also evaluating the mental health needs of people in Kyiv and Odessa who have been displaced or affected by violence over the last three months.

Since March, MSF has been running a mental health program to provide counseling to victims of violent events earlier this year in Kyiv, as well as technical and emotional support for mental health professionals who were delivering psychological care. From March to May, 450 mental health professionals have been trained in psychological first aid, post-traumatic stress disorder, grief, anxiety, and stress management.

MSF has been working in Donetsk since 2011, running a program to treat patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis within the regional penitentiary system.

MSF is an international medical humanitarian organisation working under the principles of neutrality, independence and impartiality in more than 70 countries around the world. MSF does not take sides in any conflict, is independent of all political, military and corporate agenda, and provides medical care to people on the basis of need alone, regardless of gender, race, religion or political affiliation.