PRESS RELEASE

International Medical Corps Responds as Eastern Ukraine’s Health System Collapses in midst of Conflict

 

Update

September 15, 2015

On 3rd September, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine (MoH) announced that the first polio case in Europe since 2010 had occurred in the Zakarpattya region. A 4-year-old and a 10-month-old were paralyzed on 30th June and 7th July, respectively.UNICEF is concerned that low vaccination coverage in Ukraine was initially triggered by public distrust of immunizations. The situation was aggravated by the insufficient vaccine supply resulted from the financial crisis and the ongoing conflict with large-scale population displacement in the eastern Ukraine. WHO reported that the rate of vaccination against polio among children under a year old is only 14.1%, because of a shortage of vaccine.

International Medical Corps continues to implement an emergency protection program through local partners, Women’s Rights Centre La Strada-Ukraine (La Strada), Most Center for Social Development Donetsk Oblast Charitable Foundation (Most) and Mariupol Youth Union (MYU), where approximately 100 social workers have now received training in case management in Mariupol and Donetsk provided by La Strada.

Moreover, in August, over 200 children and adults, most of whom are IDPs, benefited from psychosocial assistance through youth clubs in Mariupol, Mangush (Pershotravnevy raion) and Volodarsk (Volodarski raion) of Donetsk oblast. They also attended open air events, group discussions, trainings and counseling.

Update

July 24, 2015

As the situation continues to deteriorate in Ukraine, regulations limit the ability to access the non-government controlled areas (NGCAs) where approximately 3 million individuals are in need of humanitarian assistance. According to the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, as of July 17, there nearly 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine and according to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 900,000 individuals have sought refuge in other countries, including Russia, Belarus and Poland.

International Medical Corps continues to implement its emergency protection program with local partners. Through the intervention, psychologists have been working with children and their parents who have been affected by the conflict and may require specialized support. After-school clubs continue to provide protection services in project areas. International Medical Corps also conducted trainings for its partners La Strada, MYU, and Most on child protection principles, psychological first aid, gender-based violence guiding principles and IASC guidelines.

Update

May 6, 2015

The security situation in Ukraine remains unstable and unpredictable, although International Medical Corps has been able to keep operating programs despite the insecurity. Over 1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) are now registered in Ukraine. However, there are no exact figures for IDPs inside the non-government controlled areas. According to UNHCR, over 800,000 Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries including Russia, Belarus and Poland.

International Medical Corps is implementing programming through local partner, Hippocrates Greek Medical Foundation (HGMF), operating in the rural areas affected by the conflict, including frontline villages in the south of Donetsk region that experience sporadic shelling and small arms fire. We are currently implementing three mobile emergency primary care units (MEPUs) with HHGMF. As of May 4, we have provided 12,911 consultations. Our teams have noticed a significant number of elderly patients presenting with diabetes and hypertension.

International Medical Corps is also implementing programming focused on child protection, gender-based violence, and psychosocial support in government and non-government controlled areas in Donetsk and Kharkiv regions. International Medical Corps partners with three local organizations, International Women’s Rights Centre La Strada–Ukraine, Most (Bridge) Center for Social Development Donetsk Oblast Charitable Foundation, and Mariupol Youth Union Donetsk Oblast Civic Organization. International Medical Corps has trained 577 people in gender-based violence prevention and child protection principles since the beginning of April, including teachers, social workers and school psychologists in Mariupol and Kharkiv.

Update

April 7, 2015

International Medical Corps is currently implementing three mobile emergency primary care units (MEPU) in the Mariupol area of Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine with local partner, Hippocrates Greek Medical Foundation (HGMF). As of April 1, the MEPUs have performed 8,363 medical consultations. During the week of March 25-March 31, 120 internally displaced persons (IDPs) received medical consultations and the medical staff referred 66 people to secondary and tertiary level facilities.

We have deployed one MEPU to Chermalyk, a small town next to an important water reservoir in the Dontesk region. Numerous hostilities have been reported around the village and International Medical Corps is working to identify the number of IDPs in the village and their primary needs. There are no functioning drug stores and the MEPU is providing necessary pharmaceuticals, donated by the local partner organization. Many residents have been cut off from accessing other cities and government workers are currently not receiving any payment for their work.

International Medical Corps is scaling up protection programming in Ukraine focused on child protection, gender-based violence, and psychosocial support. Areas of operation include Kharkiv, Mariupol, Donetsk and surrounding rural areas. To implement this program, International Medical Corps partners with three local organizations, International Women’s Rights Centre La Strada–Ukraine, Most (Bridge) Center for Social Development Donetsk Oblast Charitable Foundation, and Mariupol Youth Union Donetsk Oblast Civic Organization.

Local medical staff stand in front of a mobile emergency primary care unit (MEPU).

 

International Medical Corps Responds as Eastern Ukraine’s Health System Collapses in midst of Conflict

February 17, 2015

Los Angeles, CA - Shelling has damaged several health facilities in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, the region that has seen the fiercest fighting during the recent conflict between Ukrainian and separatist forces. A team of International Medical Corps experts in the region found that some health facilities have been looted and many facilities lack food and water for patients. The team also found medical professionals have left the area and supply chains are broken, leaving hospitals and health centers without lifesaving medicines or equipment. The combination of physical infrastructure damage and lack of staff means health care is non-existent in many rural areas and at minimal levels in others.

“We call on armed combatants involved in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine to respect international humanitarian law and the responsibility all parties have for the protection of innocent civilians and for according them access to humanitarian assistance,” said Chris Skopec, Senior Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response, International Medical Corps. “The longer the fighting continues, the greater the damage to fragile health systems and more innocent people, including children, will suffer.”

International Medical Corps’ team also found widespread mental health, gender-based violence and child protection concerns, which can have immediate as well as long-term consequences for individuals, families and communities. These included:

  • Parents and care givers consistently told the assessment team of the negative impact the conflict is having on children’s wellbeing often describing increased fear, anxiety and aggressive behavior in children.
  • The team heard numerous accounts of increasing mental health issues, including people feeling hopeless and insecure and children being afraid of loud noises and wetting their beds.
  • Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to violence in emergency settings and conflicts. The risk of gender-based violence, particularly the use of sexual violence by armed actors against women and girls in the region is a growing concern.

International Medical Corps has been operating mobile emergency primary health care units outside the city of Mariupol for several months, through a local partner organization. In light of the findings from this latest assessment, International Medical Corps is preparing to increase the scale and scope of its humanitarian response in the region.

Since its inception 30 years ago, International Medical Corps' mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance. For more information visit:  www.InternationalMedicalCorps.org. Also see us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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Rebecca Gustafson
rgustafson@InternationalMedicalCorps.org
202-828-5155

Washington, DC

FROM RELIEF TO SELF-RELIANCE

For 30 years, International Medical Corps has worked to relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease by delivering vital health care services that focus on training, helping devastated populations return to self-reliance.

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