Ukraine Health Crisis

With Canadian friends who are here engaged in both primary relief and education projects

This page is being maintained to provide colleagues and supporters with some quick updates regarding progress in our work in Ukraine to prevent and mitigate infectious disease outbreaks.

As many of you appreciate, the toll of disease can equal or even exceed combat casualties. Russia’s destruction of cities and infrastructure, targeting of health facilities, and displacement of approximatly one in four Ukrainians are just a few of the conditions which make epidemic disease a major concern. Such a tragedy could become even more widespread, rippling across Europe and the Atlantic. Thus a small group of us are supporting the Ukrainian Ministry of Health to assist in a variety of needs here. We are not creating yet another new organization, but partnering with NGOs, philanthropy, and industry to utilize a variety of mechanisms including contracts, gifts, and grants to accomplish critical objectives quickly and efficiently.

My posts are a bit different than some others. I generally prefer to show you the country Ukrainians are fighting to preserve, than the death and rubble created by Russian aggression. Even when you see the latter, most of us know a photo or a 60 second news segment simply isn’t comparable with the reality.

Addressing the infectious disease aspects of a broader health crisis may require many millions of dollars to accomplish. That’s a minuscule slice of the military side of spending, and to us it is indisputable this work must be done – that’s why I came here at personal expense. This effort won’t rebuild an estimated $1 trillion in physical destruction…but it will help to enable Ukrainians to begin their recovery, and continue their nation’s progress.

So if you are a philanthropist or government leader wondering what can be done, let’s talk (pewen@vaccinology.org). To those of us of more limited means, I want to first thank those who have begun contributing to a very modest supplemental operations fund. It is already helping to cover some incidental costs here, such as our interpreter, a printer, water filtration equipment, and more.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/ukraine-health-crisis

If you’d like to get a quick grasp at health in Ukraine just as the invasion began, the following WHO report is a good place to start:


I’ll be posing updates here as I’m able, but given the amount of work to get done, these will be brief.

Be well!

July 6

The “New Normal” here involves more than COVID. On the metro…in between short vignettes on Ukrainian history, and some ads…I saw a public safety message…one we shouldn’t have to be providing:


Translation:

Mine Safety
What you need to know how to do!

Bypass projectiles that don’t explode…they are ready to explode at any moment
Don’t pick up found items that may be disguised explosive devices
..approach an explosive object
..move it or pick it up
..disassemble, throw, beat on it
..make a campfire nearby
..bring it home

July 5

At the Ukraine Recovery Conference, the immense cost of rebuilding is discussed. Regardless of how this burden is borne, Ukraine cannot move forward without health security. Ensuring that now will reduce the cost of recovery and save lives.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/05/world/europe/ukraines-prime-minister-says-rebuilding-will-cost-750-billion.html

Earlier Ukraine Scenes

I’ve pulled just a few scenes to give one a picture of Ukraine (largely scenes in and near Lviv and Kyiv). I generally avoid the tragic photos, though I meet many who traumatized or injured…and one must also recognize that photos and depictions of colleagues and work can present security issues. Thus I filter a great deal at this time. This is not only a humanitarian crisis…it is also wartime.

Countryside approaching Lviv
Reunion with family and pets in Lviv
My lodging in Lviv was in shared quarters with a medic and a refugee from Kharkiv
Family time with children on a Sunday in Lviv
Throughout the country are memorials to those lost in this war
Kyiv is a magnificent city – the people, culture, architecture, and scenery.
Kyiv is in a “New Normal” state – business reduced somewhat, air raids, etc…but persevering.
Barriers are distributed throughout Kyiv…Bucha is just minutes away.
Signage that children were in this car didn’t deter Russian attackers

Remnants of a Russian tank on St Michael’s Square
War creates some incredible contrasts
A too common sight is of those bandaged and struggling with the wounds of war…and of funerals.
Amidst crowds and conflict in a resolute nation, a dog just lies down and takes a nap.