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Global Update: Response in Ukraine, Bangladesh, and on the U.S.-Mexico Border

A look at recent activity from Direct Relief.



Medical support from Direct Relief arrives at a children's hospital in central Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of Charity Fund Modern Village and Town)

More than 12 million Ukrainians need humanitarian health care, according to the NGO AICM Ukraine, which has operated in the country since 2006.

Conflict-related trauma, maternal and newborn health, chronic disease care, food security, communicable disease outbreaks, potential nuclear and chemical hazards, human trafficking, and sexual violence have all been identified in a WHO report as priority public health concerns.

According to one WHO representative, at least 3,000 people in Ukraine have died from a lack of access to chronic disease medication alone.

As courageous volunteers are brave bombs to deliver humanitarian medical aid to areas under fire, Direct Relief continues its large-scale response. Since the war broke out, Direct Relief has provided more than 800 tons of aid and over $15 million in funding to Ukraine and neighboring countries. It has also helped inform humanitarian efforts with information and analysis support.

Children recently arrived from Ukraine engage in a play therapy session with a therapist from the League for Mental Health in Slovakia. The organization, with funding from Direct Relief, is connecting Ukrainian refugees with Ukrainian mental health professionals as they adjust to life in a new country. (Photo courtesy of the League for Mental Health)

To list a few recent examples:

• Direct Relief’s research team is helping to gather data on pharmacies, displacement, attitudes toward refugees, and more.
• A $750,000 grant from Direct Relief is providing mental health and psychosocial support for Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia.
• For people with diabetes, Direct Relief has delivered nearly 30,000 glucose meters with strips for children’s hospital emergency rooms and ophthalmology clinics across Ukraine.
• The organization has also provided a $583,000 grant to enable maternal and newborn health care for Ukrainians who have fled the country.

The ongoing needs in Ukraine and countries that have received refugees are severe, and Direct Relief will continue responding strategically to the medical conditions created by the war.


The United States

• Over the past two weeks, Direct Relief has dispatched 606 shipments to 456 healthcare providers in 46 states and territories, totaling $9.6 million in value and more than 14,000 pounds.

• During that time, $614,000 in grants has been distributed.

• Health centers and their patients are feeling the effects of inflation.

• Research featuring eight Direct Relief-funded health centers has been published in the Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. The study found that patients enrolled in a comprehensive medication management program significantly lowered their estimated risk of death.

• In response to an influx of unaccompanied minors at the border, the Texas Association of Community Health Centers has thus far provided trauma-informed care training to 25 organizations in the state.

Stephanie Maqueda, a medical assistant at Utah Partners for Health, takes the blood pressure of a patient. (Photo courtesy of UPFH)

Around the World

• Direct Relief has made 30 shipments to 35 nonprofit health facilities in 19 countries in the past two weeks, totaling $16.3 million in value and more than 114,000 pounds.

More than $63,000 in grants was distributed over the same two weeks.

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis has led to medication shortages. A Direct Relief shipment of antibiotics, thyroid and chronic disease medications, vitamins, and more arrived recently with public health facilities throughout the country. The organization is working with Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to determine needs and coordinate further shipments.

• A Bangladeshi organization, with Direct Relief support, provided food and mobile medical clinics in the wake of Bangladesh’s devastating flooding. More than 500 people per day received medical care, and more than 1,000 a day received food.

People carry supplies through the floodwaters. (Photo courtesy of HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh)


Project Joint Guardian outfitted with critical supplies from Santa Barbara County ahead of mission in Ukraine – KEYT: “Thanks to Direct Relief, this shipment arrived in Europe ahead of the specialized unit. And, more is on the way.”

More resources for managing emotions of participants of Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico – El Vocero de Puerto Rico: “The funds granted by Direct Relief will support the hiring of a social worker and art teacher for the Clubs in Isabela and Bayamón; and technical assistance and curriculum from the Puerto Rico Institute of Traumatology, an entity that will also train the work team, provide therapies, psychological services, and perform an evaluation at the end of the project.”

UN OCHA Ukraine Situation Report: “Health-care concerns also remain on the rise, including maternal and newborn health, mental health and chronic disease management, especially for vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities, children and youth, women and girls, health-care workers and internally displaced people, according to analysis shared by Direct Relief.”

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