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Direct Relief has donated and delivered more than $1 billion in medicine and medical supplies to the people of Ukraine since Russia launched its war against its neighbor 18 months ago, a conflict that has driven 12 million Ukrainians from their homes, killed or injured more than 26,000 Ukrainian civilians and disrupted the nation’s health care systems.
In response to the brutal fighting, continuing attacks on Ukraine’s civilians, destruction of the country’s electricity infrastructure, and infliction of widespread psychological trauma, Direct Relief has conducted its largest and most sustained humanitarian aid response in its 75-year history.
The $1 billion milestone reached this month includes more than 292 million daily defined doses of prescription medicine for all kinds of conditions, including diabetes, infections, seizures, cancer, hypertension, psychological conditions, transplants and more, reaching millions of Ukrainians.
As Direct Relief operates without government funding, the $1 billion in donations comes entirely from private sources. (The U.S. government has provided $3.9 billion in humanitarian assistance since the war’s start.)
In the city of Kremenchuk along the Dnieper River, the children’s hospital had received no new supplies from early February through April, when a large shipment of Direct Relief donations arrived, delivered by the Association Internationale de Coopération Médicale (AICM), Direct Relief’s core partner in the eastern Poltava region. The hospital was treating around 250 children, many of them suffering war wounds, when the supplies arrived.
The donations from Direct Relief “should sustain us for the next six months,” Deputy Director Iryna Roman told Direct Relief.
“It is hard to overestimate the impact of Direct Relief’s emergency response to the war in Ukraine,” said Nataliia Bohachenko, head of Ukrainian Soul, an Odesa-based NGO that is a partner of Direct Relief. “Continuous support, diversified grant programs and repeating shipments helped to fill gaps in the supply of Ukrainian hospitals and other healthcare facilities caused by war, thus helping and saving the lives of many Ukrainians who needed the help.”
For people with diabetes, Direct Relief has delivered 2.2 million bottles and vials of insulin, 3.7 million needles and syringes, and 4.1 million test strips. Direct Relief has been the largest humanitarian supplier of insulin to Ukraine since the war began.
The aid also has included large quantities of medical supplies ranging from battlefield tourniquets to diabetes test strips to prenatal vitamins.
The $1 billion total figure represents the wholesale value of the products delivered between Feb. 2022 and August 2023. Direct Relief has based the valuation on the wholesale costs of prescription medications in Europe, where prices for certain products are as much as 70% lower than comparable products sold in the United States
In addition to the $1 billion in donated medicine and supplies, Direct Relief has committed $35 million in grants in financial support to local healthcare organizations providing care in Ukraine and others in countries, including Poland and Slovakia, that have opened their doors to Ukrainian refugees.
That funding has covered medication costs for more than 266,000 Ukrainian refugees in Poland, provided mental health care for close to 25,000 Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia, and funded rehabilitation programs focused on working with amputees, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and psychosocial support. Direct Relief is also providing funding to support Ukraine’s national system for distributing medicine around the country to the people who need it.
“Direct Relief has reached this milestone through the generous support of people in 84 countries around the world, as well as from dozens of the world’s leading pharmaceutical makers,” said Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief’s President and CEO. “It reflects the breadth of support for the people of Ukraine and our ongoing commitment to help them through this terrible national ordeal.”
Support from Companies and Organizations
Seventy-nine pharmaceutical and medical supply companies and organizations donated their products to Direct Relief’s Ukraine response. Of the 292 million daily defined doses of medicine donated to Ukraine, about 163 million have been of generic drugs. The companies that provided donations include:
3M Abbott AbbVie Accord Healthcare Ajanta Pharma USA Alvogen AmerisourceBergen Amgen Apotex AstraZeneca Baxter Europe Baxter International Bayer AG Bayer USA BD BD Europe Belmora Biogen Boehringer Ingelheim Cal OES Carlsbad Technology Coherus Biosciences Covidien CVS DeVilbiss Healthcare GmBH Dragerwerk AG Drive Medical GmBH Edenbridge Pharmaceuticals Eli Lilly & Company Encube Ethicals Ethicon Genentech Gilead Grifols US Greenstone Grifols Worldwide GSK GSMS Incorporated Haleon Henry Schein Hikma Pharmaceuticals ICU Health ICU Medical Inogen Integra LifeSciences Janssen Pharmaceuticals Jazz Pharmaceuticals J&J Consumer Kate Farms Kenvue Kirk Humanitarian LifeScan Liquid IV McKesson Medical-Surgical Medline Industries Medtronic Merck & Co. Merck KGaA Meitheal Pharmaceuticals MSD Novo Nordisk A/S Organon Perrigo Pharmaceuticals Pfizer Purdue Pharma Sanofi Society of Critical Care Medicine Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Mepha Schweiz Teva Pharmaceuticals Europe Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Trifecta Unilever Unite to Light Viatris Europe Viatris USA ViiV Healthcare Westminster Pharmaceuticals Zydus Pharmaceuticals
Support for Rehabilitation
Events of the past 18 months have made some of the long-term health consequences of the war very clear. People who have sustained disabling injuries will require lifetime care, including children who have lost limbs and will require new prosthetic devices as they grow up. Supporting rehabilitation and recovery from war injuries, both physical and psychological, has been a core focus of Direct Relief. The organization has allocated $15 million to specifically support rehabilitation and injury recovery efforts in Ukraine, including support for the Unbroken National Rehabilitation Center in Lviv.
Helping Ukrainians Manage Psychological Trauma
A significant portion of the Ukrainian population has suffered from psychological trauma. Trauma-focused psychologists are providing care at the scene of Russian attacks, to help victims begin to process what they have experienced. Direct Relief has provided funding to organizations, including a $550,000 grant to Razom for Ukraine, a Ukrainian-American nonprofit that, with this funding, is providing mental health services to war-impacted individuals in Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine.
A $320,000 grant has enabled HromadaHub, a Ukrainian nonprofit, to train Ukrainian psychologists to provide emergency psychological support. During five-day sessions, it has so far trained more than 300 participants on how to interact with people at the site of attacks, as well as those who have suffered trauma accumulated over longer periods.
“By organizing the training, we are not giving the fish but the fishing rod to the psychologists so they can start helping their communities,” Hromada Hub’s head Lily Bortych told Direct Relief. The goal is to build up the resilience and sustainability of the country’s psychological support system. “Ukraine doesn’t have to rely only on foreign specialists but can build up an army of trained emergency psychologists speaking the same language, living in the same area, and sharing the same problems with the people they help,” Bortych said.
“Miracles happen when you work with the right people,” Hromada Hub’s emergency psychology coordinator Melinda Endrefy told Direct Relief.
“There is a proverb in Ukrainian: ‘In grief and your hour of trouble, you will recognize a loyal person,’” said Marina Makarenko, head of Charitable Fund Modern Village and Town. “From the first day of the war, we have felt the support of a friend – Direct Relief. Thanks to this powerful financial support of our charitable projects and initiatives, ambulances, medicines, oxygen concentrators, and emergency medical aid backpacks, our NGO was able to withstand the first week of the war and continue to help thousands of Ukrainians.”