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Direct Relief Mobilizing Emergency Aid for Ukraine


Ukraine Relief

Among the items contained in the packs are critical care supplies like wound dressings and tourniquets.

Direct Relief over the weekend received a comprehensive list from the Ukrainian Ministry of Health of needed medications, which the organization is now mobilizing.

In addition to critical care medical items for blood pressure support, intubation/ventilation, IV antibiotics, fluids, etc., Direct Relief has received requests for Combat Application Tourniquets and bandages, indicating mass casualties.

Direct Relief has also received information indicating a dire need for tranexamic acid, which is used to control severe bleeding by blocking the breakdown of blood clots.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Health also requested at least 500 mobile medical outreach packs, which include items such as CAT-style tourniquets, among other trauma-focused items.

Oxygen supply in Ukrainian hospitals is another major issue and projected to get worse, as the conflict is compounding an already chronic problem.

KRAMATORSK, DONETSK, UKRAINE – 2021/11/06: Workers load empty oxygen cylinders for servicing at Kramatorsk city hospital. Ukraine’s government at the start of November allocated extra finances of $15 million to the purchase of oxygen stations for hospitals in the region due to the surge in Covid-19 cases and the shortage of oxygen cylinders. (Photo by Andriy Andriyenko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

There are currently 1,700 people being treated for COVID in Ukraine and the WHO estimates that demand for oxygen due to the conflict is going to increase by 20-25 percent.

RefugeeS and Chronic Disease

Problems that arise when chronic disease conditions go untreated include worsening asthma leading to sudden attacks, spiking blood sugars from out-of-control diabetes, and high risk for stroke and heart attack because people do not have their cardiovascular medications. This inevitably creates a second wave of emergency medical needs.

Insulin and other cold chain medications are expected to be in short supply, with the Ukrainian Diabetes Federation reporting that there are some 15,000 children living with Type 1 diabetes in Ukraine.

On top of the chronic disease issues, acute problems arise with large fleeing populations. Examples include norovirus outbreaks, which can lead to severe vomiting and diarrhea in shelters, Tuberculosis, even Polio, HIV and COVID.

Ukraine has the second-highest rates of HIV/AIDs in the region and TB is a major challenge with high percentages of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB). In addition, Ukraine has been fighting a polio outbreak since late 2021. The disruption in access to medications and health services combined with the displacement of communities is going to negatively impact these and other public health challenges.

New and pregnant mothers and their children are also going to be exceedingly vulnerable as the fighting continues.

In certain areas, damage to gas and power infrastructure is also going to have a major impact, particularly with current temperatures hovering around zero.

Direct Relief’s Ongoing Response

Direct Relief, based in Santa Barbara, maintains the highest US accreditation as a whole drug distributor and is the world’s largest charitable distributor of donated medicine and medical supplies.

Direct Relief has been providing aid to Ukrainian healthcare providers, with a large shipment of diabetes supplies arriving last week. Since January 2021, Direct Relief has supplied Ukrainian healthcare providers with more than $27 million in medical aid.

Direct Relief will continue collecting and fulfilling medical needs as the crisis unfolds, and will post additional information as the situation evolves.

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